A legal action that once put in danger the operations of the newest casino in Northwest Indiana, as it challenged the validity of state integrity rules for privately-owned gambling operators’ shareholders has been dismissed by the court.
A few days ago, Marion Superior Judge John Chavis II favored the request made by former Spectacle Entertainment’s shareholders seeking to immediately dispose of their legal action against the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC).
The ruling comes closely after the state’s gambling regulatory body has given the green light to a plan under which the company would sell majority control of the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana to Greg Gibson, the primary owner of Spectacle Entertainment, and Hard Rock International, which has been the company’s operating partner. The proceeds of the sale would have been used to buy out the minority shareholders of the gambling operator.
Furthermore, at its meeting that took place on August 18th, the state’s gambling watchdog also provided its approval to a one-year renewal of the gaming operating license of the Hard Rock Casino after previously providing it with interim license renewals only. For the time being, casino venues in the state are not allowed to operate without holding a valid license issued by the Indiana Gaming Commission.
Strict Requirements to Privately-Owbned Casino Investors Sought by Spetacle Entertainment
The shareholders of Spectacle Entertainment included some entities associated with several prominent Hoosier Republicans, including Stephen Hilbert, Dan Dumezich, Dan Hasler and Matthew Whetstone.
They made claims that the state’s gambling regulatory body exceeded its authority by requiring thorough financial and background probes for privately-owned casino companies’ investors in order for the latter to be allowed to acquire a Level 1 occupational license. According to Spectacle Entertainment’s shareholders, such persons should have also been staying away from gambling at the Hard Rock Casino, lobbying for proposed pieces of legislation, and doing independent business with casino vendors. According to the campaigners, they should have also notified the Indiana Gaming Commission when they have over $50,000 cash on hand.
The Hard Rock Casino started operation on May 14th. Reports showed that it was the second-biggest casino in the state of Indiana by gross gambling revenue in August.
Marion Superior Judge John Chavis II previously issued a ruling, saying that, under state law, the Indiana Gaming Commission had the right to enact the aforementioned requirements, especially considering the alleged violations of a few former executives of Spectacle Entertainment who used to work together at Centaur Gaming before receiving the Gary casino license.
At the time, Judge Chavis said that the activities had been investigated by the state’s gambling regulatory body that found undisclosed financial transactions, improper accounting practices and use of funds, secret ownership transfers, as well as ex parte communications with certain former commissioners and other issues. He further noted that, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission, there were some gaps in the company’s existing rules in regard to attempts to separate individuals considered unsuitable from the owner of the casino operating license.