Why the Terre Haute Casino Could Put a Dent in Illinois' Gaming

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Why the Terre Haute Casino Could Put a Dent in Illinois' Gaming

A referendum in Vigo County says yes to a new casino. The head of the Casino Association says Indiana can get Illinois customers.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind.--You may have another place to place your bets, and it could be in operation by 2022. Voters in Vigo County approved a referendum that says yes to a casino. The yes votes were 63 percent, and Matt Bell, head of the Casino Assoc. of Indiana, says that means Vigo County has chosen solid economic development.

"Gaming in Indiana is about economic development and local job creation and Vigo County has embraced that," said Bell. 

He said the casino, which may attract people from all over Indiana once it's built, will likely attract people from Illinois, a state that he believes hasn't done right by its own casinos.

"Our Indiana general assembly passed a bill that is market-friendly, that allows for the market to perform in a 21st century environment, and that stands in stark contrast to what Illinois did."

Bell said Illinois decided to extort its gaming industry to make up to for budget shortfalls.

"So we'll be ahead of Illinois, we'll offer a better experience than Illinois and that will allow us to draw customers from across the state line that might've otherwise belonged to them," said Bell.

The next step is to select an operator and operators have through Dec. 1 to submit an application. Bell said he believes Indiana's gaming industry attracts quality operators.

"That gives us a leg up on our competitors to the west. We'll continue to enjoy that leg up with a stable regulatory and tax environment, and Indiana's gaming industry will thrive."

Bell estimated that once approved, the operator could build the new casino withing a year and a half to two years, which could put it in operation by 2022.

PHOTO: lucadp/Thinkstock

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