Vigo Co. casino supporters celebrate, look ahead as referendum passes

Local

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — With 63% of the vote, Vigo County voters said yes to a local casino Tuesday night.

“We just showed the entire state that we’re open for business and we want the work,” said Senator Jon Ford.

Ford says this vote acts as proof that Vigo County can work together within its community and with other communities to get results on big projects.

“For so long, people in Indianapolis haven’t seen us work together as a community, and for us to continue to work together to get this across the finish line means a lot,” said Ford.

The casino has the potential to bring 800 thousand to 1.1 million visitors annually, according to a fiscal impact statement from earlier this year.

The same statement estimates a generation of up to $105 million AGR annually as well. Hundreds of jobs are also connected to the project.
“Lots of construction jobs, huge construction impact, and in the bill, the legislation, the casino had to be a minimum of $100 million, so we’ll at least see a $100 million project,” said Ford.

A regional economic development fund is also included in Enrolled House Bill 1015, meaning other counties in West Central Indiana will benefit from casino revenue.

“This is a region-wide economic development driver and I know all of the surrounding communities are excited about it and I think it’s going to benefit a lot more people than just Vigo County,” said Advance West Central Indiana PAC Co-Chair Brian Kooistra.

Ford says there aren’t many steps left in the process before construction can begin.

“Bids are being taken by the Gaming Commission as we speak, deadline is December 1, then they would review bids and make a decision sometime in the first quarter. I think groundbreaking would be Spring 2020 and then 14-18 months after that,” said Ford.

Jenny Reske from the Indiana Gaming Commission says no bids have been submitted for the Vigo County casino license at this time.

John Keeler, general counselor for Spectacle Entertainment, says the business intends to “vigorously compete” for the license.

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