Indiana has never been known as a state that is particularly friendly to casinos, however that is slowly but surely changing. The news organization Indystar reported today that Terre Haute lawmakers are considering a casino to be built in the town. This is good news for casino fans, who have recently found out that an Indianapolis casino might have just gotten a bit more unlikely.
Terre Haute seems like a better option than Indianapolis, too. The reason for this is due to the fact that the town is closer to the state’s Western border and therefore more likely to draw some attention from Illinois residents. With all this being said, there is still a long ways to go before this casino dream comes close to being a reality.
For casino operators in Illinois, the prospect of another gambling location in Western Indiana is not one that brings about happy thoughts. In fact, the prospect of a Terre Haute casino is one that does a lot to throw a monkey wrench in other casinos’ plans as well. Evansville also has a casino—Tropicana Evansville—and it was recently planning to expand. As it currently stands, Tropicana Evansville is technically a riverboat casino, but was looking to expand operations onto land and possibly even double its current size.
John Chaszar, general manager of Evansville’ casino, commented on the situation by saying, “It would definitely affect our business in Evansville. We just made a substantial investment into the community…Any loss of revenue not only impacts the revenue of the casino, but it also affects the revenue of the city.”
Right now, the state of Indiana has 10 casino licenses as well as 2 other licenses for casinos situated at racetracks. Though the bill that would allow for a casino would not increase the number of licenses if passed, it would allow a preexistent casino to open a supplemental location in Terre Haute.
Terre Haute is an interesting location simply because of its small population. With just over 60,000 people, Terre Haute is more than 10 times smaller than Indianapolis. City leaders there are hoping that something as eye-catching as a casino will help boost the city’s economy as well as the population. This mirrors the hopes of city leaders elsewhere across the world.
When the bill was introduced on Wednesday, there was not much in the way of opposition voiced. This is good news early for this casino project. As we head further into 2017 and beyond, it will be interesting to see what happens with this move. Indiana is an interesting place because there are strong conservative politicians as well as strong liberal politicians. As such, debates on topics such as casino-style gambling are always interesting to listen to. Indiana is not doing particularly well financially nor economically, so perhaps this measure will be passed quicker than most people are currently thinking. With that said, it will not pass without stiff opposition and all this will be interesting to see.