Casino license relocation has been one of the heated topics of discussion in the gaming field of Indiana, as Majestic Star Casinos are willing to make way to more development in Buffington Harbor. The year 2019 and the General Assembly coming with it could give green light to the project, as it has been confirmed by state Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, who has the capacity to approve such relocation. Meanwhile, other operators express their opposition.
The state of Indiana is facing major changes to its gaming field and the opportunities for development are vast. According to the Chairman of the House Public Policy Committee, Rep. Smaltz, the possibility of approval should not be underestimated, as it has the potential to improve the casino patron experience. For the time being, the best location for the casino permit has not been decided, but upon further evaluation of the pros and cons, a decision could be made.
Majestic Star Casino License Move Welcomed by Lawmakers
Lawmakers are now ready to embrace the new and potentially give their nod to such reshaping. January is the month pinpointed for the new legislative session anticipated by casino developers not only in Gary but also in the cities of Hammond and Portage. Rep. Smaltz stated recently that he is much more liberal towards new ideas which could have a positive impact on the community.
However, he remains his right to give things further consideration and have his final say only after he is well-acquainted with the provided details regarding such relocation. The legislation mandatory for such a move will also have to be thoroughly reviewed by the lawmakers, as to ensure it will be favorable for all parties involved in the process. First, he will have to receive a proposal and make sure it fits well with the current status quo.
The driving force in this situation will be the benefit for the community and how this relocation could improve the field of the cities willing to welcome a new casino venue. Hammond City Council issued its unanimous resolution claiming a desire to welcome the license for operation. Attempts of attracting it date back to 2012, when Mr. McDermott first made it clear that Gary’s license is welcome in Hammond.
Horseshoe Casino Hammond Concerned by Cannibalization
In the meantime, while cities are willing to join the race towards a casino operation and lawmakers already prepare to make a move in this direction, casino operators express their concerns regarding the future operation. Cannibalization of the field is a possibility which should be avoided at all costs. Horseshoe Casino Hammond overseen by major casino developer and operator Caesars Entertainment recently made it clear it sees such license relocation as a threat to its future operation.
Billions have been invested in the gaming location and its operation has been driving the region forward. Horseshoe Hammond is one of the premium casino venues on a state level, due to its proximity to the border with Illinois. This has further boosted its operation, thanks to Chicago players flocking to the neighboring state and giving their luck a try at the premium venue. The potential introduction of a new casino venue in the area of Interstate 65 and 94 is something worrying for the casino management.
In a previous statement made by the city’s Mayor, one of Majestic Star’s two gaming licenses would fit well with the existing infrastructure and interest towards gambling in general. In this sense, the casino management and the city have contrasting positions on this question and further discussion will be needed. Regardless, the state will have the final say on this issue.