Indiana casino projects at risk as political contributions investigated

By Owain Flanders

Plans to build new casinos in Gary and Terre Haute, Indiana, could be at risk as authorities investigate allegations of illegal political contributions, as reported by the Associated Press.

The investigation is currently being completed by the Indiana Gaming Commission and concerns more than 10 people alleged to have been involved in possible financial misconduct.

Executives of Spectacle Entertainment had plans to relocate their Gary casino to an inland casino in a project worth $300m. The company was also planning to build a $125m casino in Terre Haute.

However, top executives have since been linked to allegations of corruption. Prosecutors suggest Spectacle Entertainment used corporate funding for the congressional campaign of a former state lawmaker in 2016.

In September, former Spectacle Entertainment vice president John Keeler had his casino license suspended after he was indicted for potential involvement in the political contributions scheme.

Spectacle has said it is fully cooperating with the investigation. CEO and board chairwoman Jahnae Erpenbach, said: ““From the beginning, we have taken this matter very seriously, as we share the Commission’s objective of protecting the integrity of gaming in the state."

Keeler and Rod Ratcliff, another Spectacle executive, were forced to give up ownership of their stake in the new Terre Haute casino by the Commission. However, a partnered company called Spectacle Jack is continuing with the project.


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