Senator: Terre Haute Casino Would Help Local Economy

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The state senator proposing a new casino in Terre Haute says the venue would not expand gaming in the state, only revenue. Jon Ford (R-38) says, if passed by the Indiana General Assembly, the unused gaming assets from the Rising Star Resort and Casino in Rising Sun would be relocated to the Terre Haute casino, leaving the net number of gaming positions in Indiana unchanged.

Ford announced his plan to author the bill last week, saying the proposed casino in Vigo County would create 1,250 jobs. He tells Inside Indiana Business the venue, which would cost an estimated $100 to $150 million to construct, would bring well over $5 million in taxes to the local economy and could bring $23 million in payroll.

Ford says the idea came from a proposal during the previous budget cycle in the General Assembly that would have moved the entire Rising Sun casino to one of several possible locations, including Terre Haute.

"I think Terre Haute is a good location, geographically. We're two-and-a-half hours away from another casino and, to the west of us and north, we really don't have any competition in gaming or entertainment," said Ford. "In this part of the state, you know, we've really been hit hard and this would be significant job growth for us, something we really haven't had here in a while."

Ford says the proposal has received a great response from his constituents in Terre Haute and local officials in Rising Sun. He adds he has only heard from a few colleagues at the Statehouse are "open-minded" about the idea, though he admits there could be some legislators who may worry the proposal would be an expansion of gaming.

Ford says the casino in Rising Sun, like many Indiana casinos, only uses about half of its gaming assets.
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