Statehouse Discussion Underway on Terre Haute Casino

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The bill would approve the use of gaming assets licensed to Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun for a new casino in Terre Haute. The bill would approve the use of gaming assets licensed to Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun for a new casino in Terre Haute.

The president of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce says he is optimistic a bill that would pave the way for a casino and hotel development in the Wabash Valley will move forward. David Haynes attended an Indiana Senate Public Policy committee hearing Wednesday on Senate Bill 354 and calls the measure "a bit unique" because of its narrow scope. The bill would authorize the owner of Rising Star Casino Resort, Las Vegas-based Full House Resorts Inc. (Nasdaq: FLL), to open a gaming operation in Terre Haute using unused, licensed gaming assets from the Rising Sun casino.

Haynes tells Inside INdiana Business a casino would complement existing businesses in the area. He says the Wabash Valley is "currently underutilized in terms of gaming" and could attract visitors from in and out-of-state. "We've shown ourselves to be a retail center and we've drawn customers, consumers from west central Indiana, east central Illinois. I think what a casino does is adds a destination, may bring more of those people into our community and we're hopeful there will be somewhat of a domino effect," he says. "They'll come here to gamble, to stay and hopefully visit and patronize the various other restaurants and retail that we have in the Terre Haute area."

The bill refers to the proposed Terre Haute operation as a "supplemental" gaming facility, meaning the total number gaming machines in the state would not increase. Haynes says if the bill passes, a casino could be built in two years. Discussion on the bill will continue in the committee before a potential future vote to move it to the full Senate is called.

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