In Indiana, the construction timeline for a new casino planned for the city of Terre Haute could be threatened after state officials put off approval of financing for the $125 million project situated just 7 miles from the Illinois state line.
Chief Operating Officer for Hard Rock International (HRI), Jon Lucas reportedly on Tuesday told the Indiana Gaming Commission that the globally recognized company has agreed to develop and manage the casino under its Rocksino brand, a step the regulatory body sought before giving consideration to the casino’s annual license renewal and approval of a finance plan this month.
Earlier this month, HRI, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and the new casino’s ownership group, Lucy Luck Gaming, formerly known as Spectacle Jack LLC, signed a management agreement for the planned Terre Haute Rocksino to be located on the city’s east side, approximately 165 miles south of the recently opened Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana. HRI is operator and part-owner of the new $300 million Gary casino in conjunction with The Hoosier State’s first land-based casino operator, Spectacle Entertainment.
Lucas reportedly told the IGC that the groundbreaking will likely take place in late June or early July and will open in late summer or fall of 2022. But before that can happen, the IGC will still need to approve financing for the casino and renew the owner’s license, which is held by Lucky Luck Gaming after previously being assigned to one of the two casino gaming boats on Lake Michigan in Gary comprising Majestic Star Casino, before closing permanently on April 18, 2021.
However, members of the Gaming Commission reportedly voted to postpone consideration of the project’s financing until they meet next on June 24. According to a report from AP News, the regulatory body is awaiting financial information from some Lucy Luck Gaming partners before renewing the casino’s license.
This isn’t the first delay the project has faced after in late January 2020 state officials put off a February 7th hearing to approve granting a casino license for Terre Haute to the group led by longtime Indiana gaming executive and developer Rod Radcliff and Greg Gibson, a Terre Haute native and now vice chairman of Spectacle Entertainment, which was at the time parent company to Spectacle Jack LLC. The latter, which was founded in 2018, was the only company that submitted an application for the license.
Postponement of the license came after the IGC learned details of a federal investigation into illicit campaign contributions that reportedly involved members of Spectacle’s management team. As a result, Ratcliff and another top executive, John Keeler, sold their interest in the group to Gibson last year.
According to the AP News agency, Lucas and Murray Clark, an Indianapolis attorney for Lucy Luck Gaming, delivered their presentations prior to the IGC’s vote to postpone consideration of the financing plan. Clark reportedly told the IGC that Gibson negotiated project financing commitments with an association of five Indiana banks and they expire June 30th.
Expected to have more than 600 employees and projected to generate more than $7 million for local governments and for business development, in addition to gaming, the planned 100,000 sq ft gambling facility will reportedly offer a variety of dining options including a Hard Rock Cafe, bars, a 250-seat meeting and event venue, and more.