Indiana is officially getting a new casino in Terre Haute. The state Gaming Commission approved the facility Friday, set to open in September 2021.
The General Assembly authorized the creation of a casino in Vigo County last year. A successful public referendum last fall helped set the stage for Friday’s action by the commission.
Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett says he’s “certain in his heart” the casino will be a positive development.
“For not only Terre Haute and Vigo County, but west central Indiana and the entire state of Indiana,” Bennett says.
Local agreements and revenue estimates project the new casino will send $45 million to local communities and $181 million to the state in gaming revenue in its first seven years.
Analysis prepared for the gaming commission by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute suggests the casino will have an initial economic impact of $126 million, with more than 1,000 jobs created in the area. The Institute's Drew Klacik says that does not take into account the effects of COVID-19. But he says it's possible any such impact will be less significant by the time the casino opens.
Greg Gibson, a lifelong Terre Haute resident, runs Spectacle Jack, which owns the new casino.
“I couldn’t be more excited to bring my community something that, until just last year, nobody thought was possible,” Gibson says.
The commission indicated the casino’s approval would likely not have happened without recent changes at Spectacle Jack. Rod Ratcliff and John Keeler, who helped run Spectacle’s parent company, have been somewhat sidelined from the new operation amid an ongoing federal probe into campaign finance violations.