Gaming commission postpones Terre Haute casino meeting as it launches investigation into Spectacle Entertainment

The Indiana Gaming Commission had set a February 7 hearing to possibly award the license to Spectacle - but for now, that's on hold.

Posted: Jan 24, 2020 12:01 PM
Updated: Jan 24, 2020 6:27 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The proposed casino property on Terre Haute's eastside may sit empty a little while longer. That's as the Indiana Gaming Commission has postponed its upcoming meeting on the casino proposal.

A statement News 10 received said the commission is investigating Spectacle Entertainment.

STATEMENT FROM THE INDIANA GAMING COMMISSION 

"The Indiana Gaming Commission is aware of information contained in court filings in the Eastern District of Virginia yesterday referencing an Indiana gaming company based in Indianapolis in 2015, which we understand to be Centaur Gaming. Certain key people in that company now own and operate Spectacle Gaming, the holder of the Majestic Star Casino license in Gary. Spectacle is also currently undertaking a land-based casino project in Gary and pursuing the new casino license in Vigo County.

The information we received is concerning and the Commission has begun a review pursuant to its statutory responsibilities into this matter.

The meeting tentatively scheduled for February 7th to consider awarding the Vigo County casino license has been postponed in order for the Commission to supplement its investigation of Spectacle. We are working to ascertain the immediate impacts of this information upon the new casino construction project in Gary. Majestic Star Casino will continue normal operations at this time."

STATEMENT FROM SPECTACLE ENTERTAINMENT 

“Spectacle Entertainment has been made aware that a paid consulting firm, who once contracted with Centaur Gaming, has been implicated in charges related to campaign finance violations in Virginia. Spectacle pledges to fully cooperate with the Indiana Gaming Commission as it investigates this matter. We take such matters very seriously and we will share more information should additional details become available.”

COURT DOCUMENTS FOR CHARLES O'NEIL

You'll recall, Spectacle Entertainment was the lone bid for the Vigo County casino license.

LINK | HARD ROCK CAFE TERRE HAUTE: PROPOSED 'ROCKSINO' WOULD HAVE FOUR RESTAURANTS, FOUR BARS, AND AROUND 1,000 GAMING STATIONS

The commission had set a February 7 hearing to possibly award the license to Spectacle - but for now, that's on hold.

It ties back to a federal court case in Arlington, Virginia.

After learning next month's meeting was canceled, we reached out to the Indiana Gaming Commission to learn why. The commission's deputy director sent us the following statement:

"The Indiana Gaming Commission is aware of information contained in court filings in the Eastern District of Virginia yesterday referencing an Indiana gaming company based in Indianapolis in 2015, which we understand to be Centaur Gaming. Certain key people in that company now own and operate Spectacle Gaming, the holder of the Majestic Star Casino license in Gary. Spectacle is also currently undertaking a land-based casino project in Gary and pursuing the new casino license in Vigo County.

The information we received is concerning and the Commission has begun a review pursuant to its statutory responsibilities into this matter.

The meeting tentatively scheduled for February 7th to consider awarding the Vigo County casino license has been postponed in order for the Commission to supplement its investigation of Spectacle. We are working to ascertain the immediate impacts of this information upon the new casino construction project in Gary. Majestic Star Casino will continue normal operations at this time."

Postponing the meeting in Vigo County will allow the commission more time to investigate Spectacle.

On Thursday, Charles O'Neil pleaded guilty in federal court in Arlington. He was the vice president of 'Strategic Campaign Group.'

LINK | SPECTACLE ENTERTAINMENT WAS THE ONLY COMPANY TO APPLY FOR A VIGO COUNTY CASINO

O'Neil admitted to funneling illegal corporate donations from an Indianapolis gaming company to a candidate running for Congress in IndianaCourt documents don't name the company or candidate, however, by using online federal election commission records - News 10 confirmed that candidate as Republican Brent Waltz, who lost in the 2016 Primary in the 9th Congressional District.

In a written statement, Spectacle Entertainment said:

“Spectacle Entertainment has been made aware that a paid consulting firm, who once contracted with Centaur Gaming, has been implicated in charges related to campaign finance violations in Virginia. Spectacle pledges to fully cooperate with the Indiana Gaming Commission as it investigates this matter. We take such matters very seriously and we will share more information should additional details become available.”

We reached out to Indiana Senator Jon Ford. He says Indiana's regulations are some of the toughest in the country. 

“Our gaming regulations are some of the toughest in the country. We are known to put a lot on vendors and applicants. It’s not a huge surprise that this is delayed a little bit," Ford said.

We asked Ford if he's concerned about the bid.

“It’s concerning that these allegations are out there but the IGC (Indiana Gaming Commission) will do it’s due diligence to see if Spectacle was involved.”

The Indiana Gaming Commission also addressed Spectacle's new Gary, Indiana casino.

The company broke ground on it earlier this month. The commission says it is working to figure out the immediate impacts of the developments on that casino's construction.

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett said things are a little uncertain right now. He hopes local partners can overcome this speedbump in the road.

"The gaming commission is a very professional group, they really dig into this stuff. I have always felt good about what they do to investigate anybody who has a license or wants a license. So I guess in some, you know, things shake out and that's their job to vet those things and decide whether a particular entity is the right one or not. They'll get that sorted out and we'll all move on from that," Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett said.

LINK | WHAT IS THE POSSIBLE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF A CASINO IN VIGO COUNTY?

We also spoke with Vigo County Commissioner Brad Anderson. He said a casino in Terre Haute is a great opportunity in the community that brings the potential for tourism and more jobs.

"From what I understand, it was in 2015. There was no talk of Spectacle or anything like that, you know, in our community. You know, not knowing anything about Spectacle other than they are a large company. We just look at it as a great opportunity for our community with the jobs and the investment that Spectacle is willing to pay. The referendum showed that people want the gambling here - the majority. And the income and the tourism side of it," Anderson said.

We will continue to follow this developing story and bring you the latest information as we learn more.

 

Terre Haute
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 50°
Robinson
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 46°
Indianapolis
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 52°
Rockville
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 47°
Casey
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 59°
Brazil
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 50°
Marshall
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 50°
Clear & Cool
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1605320

Reported Deaths: 27132
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook61354910964
DuPage1039171357
Will873121089
Lake771121060
Kane65888850
Winnebago39007544
Madison38143576
St. Clair35003569
McHenry33032316
Peoria25972362
Champaign25862182
Sangamon24588271
McLean21879207
Tazewell19736326
Rock Island17806344
Kankakee16784234
Kendall15459106
LaSalle14496275
Macon14478240
Vermilion13234189
Adams12695148
DeKalb11667128
Williamson11419157
Whiteside7897176
Jackson769188
Boone760082
Coles7341112
Ogle713486
Grundy701281
Franklin686899
Clinton681498
Knox6651164
Marion6547138
Macoupin646399
Henry620474
Jefferson6060132
Effingham604382
Livingston571295
Woodford554291
Stephenson546289
Randolph529297
Monroe508199
Christian491780
Fulton487970
Morgan487296
Logan477474
Montgomery467476
Lee458156
Bureau427188
Perry415171
Saline409263
Fayette398956
Iroquois394673
McDonough354956
Jersey322253
Shelby311843
Douglas306636
Crawford304130
Lawrence301131
Union296747
Wayne274057
White265930
Richland262054
Hancock256334
Pike255956
Cass250928
Clark250738
Bond244024
Clay240047
Ford235256
Edgar234744
Carroll225437
Warren224960
Johnson213524
Moultrie211831
Jo Daviess206126
Washington206127
Wabash200915
Greene200739
Mason199351
Massac198144
De Witt195530
Piatt190814
Mercer190634
Cumberland178325
Menard158612
Jasper152418
Marshall134721
Hamilton128821
Brown10178
Pulaski98311
Schuyler9688
Edwards96315
Stark76827
Gallatin7435
Scott6975
Alexander67611
Henderson65114
Calhoun6442
Hardin56013
Putnam5444
Pope4815
Unassigned1882432
Out of IL40

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479