Indiana casino operator Spectacle Jack was approved by the Indiana Gaming Commission Friday to develop and operate a casino complex in the city of Terre Haute. The state regulator decided to finally give the go-ahead of the $125 million project during a virtual meeting, after certain changes within the parent company ownership were implemented and new application submitted.
Regulator’s Decision on Hold since March
The Indiana Gaming Commission was expected to announce its decision in March, but its seven-member ruling was placed on hold after two of the executives at Spectacle Entertainment, the parent company of Spectacle Jack, were involved in a political scandal regarding donations, and became subjects of federal investigation. Spectacle Entertainment CEO Rod Radcliff and General Counsel John Keeler were the ones investigated and, in order to expedite the company’s license application, had to step away from the project.
If both Radcliff and Keeler, who also treated Gov. Eric Holcomb to two private-jet flights and directed six-figure sums to Holcomb’s biggest 2016 campaign donor, did not give up the ownership stake and a new application was submitted, the Indiana Gaming Commission would not have been able to issue a license, Jennifer Reske, Deputy Director of the commission admitted. As per the license, Spectacle Jack, in partnership with Florida-based Hard Rock International, will build and operate a gaming complex in Terre Hauge.
Back in January, the Indiana-based gaming company Centaur Gaming, formed by Radcliff and Keeler, illegally directed funds to former Indiana Senator Brent Waltz, $15,000, to support his running for the US House of Representatives. The news broke after a political consultant pleaded guilty for directing the funds.
Majestic Star Riverboat Casino Licenses
The license for Terre Haute was designated from the second Majestic Star license Spectacle Jack owned and surrendered to the Indiana Gaming Commission, after its two riverboat casinos along the city of Gary were allowed to move onto dry land by Indiana lawmakers last year.
Spectacle Jack and his partner, Seminole-owned Hard Rock International, were allowed to build a $400 million hotel and casino resort in Gary for one of its Majestic Star licenses, and after the decision on Friday, the pair would build a casino complex in Terre Haute.
After the implemented changes, ownership of Spectacle Jack is shared among a Terre Haute businessman, Greg Gibson, who also served as Vice Chairman of Spectacle Entertainment, and Spectacle Entertainment’s Executive Vice President Jim Brown.
Spectacle Jack and Hard Rock plans involve building a 100,000-square-foot casino in the Vigo County city, featuring table games, slot machines, and sports betting, a 300-seater theater for live events and dining outlets. Breaking ground on the new facility is planned for the fall of 2020, expecting to launch operations a year later.