What is the possible economic impact of a casino in Vigo County?

The first question on the ballot is regarding a casino, and the wording is short and simple: Shall inland casino gambling be permitted in Vigo County?

Posted: Oct 15, 2019 5:32 PM
Updated: Oct 31, 2019 1:58 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - On Tuesday, November 5, Vigo County voters will be answering yes or no to two very important referendums.

We will take a closer look at each of those two questions, and what each one of them could mean for you and your family.

The first question on the ballot is regarding a casino, and the wording is short and simple: Shall inland casino gambling be permitted in Vigo County?

If the casino referendum is approved next month, the construction of a casino could create 150 construction jobs.

LINK | VIGO COUNTY CASINO QUESTION WILL BE ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT

There are not any specific facility designs yet, but it's proposed to be a $100-$150 million construction project.

Once the casino is built, it is expected to create 400 full-time jobs with a range of salaries.

A valet would make around $23,000 a year. A slot supervisor would make in the mid to late $30,000 range.

Management positions, like an audit manager, would make somewhere in the $80,000 range.

It's also estimated 'ripple effect' jobs could come from a new casino.

"Indiana Gaming Commission estimates another 400 jobs as well as a subsidiary to the casino...predicting opening restaurants nearby...perhaps another hotel," Sara Smith, the Casino PAC Treasurer, said.

When a casino is built in Indiana, the state legislature requires the company to pay two separate taxes to the state.

First is what's called a 'wagering tax.' The tax for the proposed Vigo County casino is estimated to be around $18 million a year.

Of that $18 million, the state would give back 25 percent to Terre Haute each year. That would be about $4.6 million back to the city.

The other tax is a supplemental wagering tax. That is sometimes referred to as an admission tax. Anytime someone goes into the casino, the facility has to pay a tax on them.

Legislation at the statehouse negotiated and passed in the spring breaks down that money like this: The City of Terre Haute will get 40 percent and Vigo County would receive 30 percent.

The local governments can choose how they want to spend that money. For example, on infrastructure or new equipment for police or firefighters.

Then, the Vigo County School Corporation would receive 15 percent of the pie each year.

The last 15 percent would go to West Central 2025. That is a regional economic initiative.

No matter how you feel about this referendum, many say it is important that you voice your choice.

"We have to have voters come out and vote. The biggest push is to get people to the polls and get a good representation of our community and what they want," John Collett, the Casino PAC President said.

Early voting is going on now through November 4. Election Day is November 5.

All Vigo County residents will get to vote on this question.

News 10 also learned, by state law, a casino is not allowed to get any tax abatements from a city government. That means all of their property tax money will go back to the community.

There isn't a set operator or location for the proposed casino.

If the referendum passes, we should have those answers by the end of January. If it fails, Terre Haute can not apply for another casino for two years.

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