Mayors: Casino Bill is an Economic Development Issue

Posted: Updated:
Mayors Duke Bennett and Karen Freeman-Wilson spoke to reports Thursday at the Statehouse. Mayors Duke Bennett and Karen Freeman-Wilson spoke to reports Thursday at the Statehouse.

The mayors of Gary and Terre Haute are asking lawmakers to remember the economic development benefits of the gambling bill currently being considered at the Statehouse. Senate Bill 552 would allow one of the Majestic Star riverboat casinos in Gary to move inland to a new downtown location and authorize a new casino in Terre Haute. 

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett held a press conference Thursday at the Statehouse and said the new casinos would create a major economic development benefit not just for their respective regions, but the entire state. They say the proposed casinos would create an estimated $75 million in new revenue for the state.

"We’re trying to get everybody to stop and just pause for a minute and think about the most important part of this bill. From our perspective, it is this economic development side. We thank the legislators who have helped us get it to this point so far, and we feel really good about that, but we know there is still a lot of work to be done, and we want to be clear about reminding everyone how important this economic development part is," said Bennett. "It’s not only putting those people to work and the economic impact in building this casino, but it’s also the long-term benefits to the community from the revenue that’s going to come in to help us improve the quality of life for our residents."

The Terre Haute casino would involve a projected $150 million investment the city says would create up to 400 jobs, in addition to 500 construction jobs. Freeman-Wilson adds a new $300 million casino in Gary would be an economic driver itself, but adds the creation of an intermodal hub at Buffington Harbor where the Majestic Star casinos are currently located would have an even greater impact.

"It doesn’t just create economic opportunity for the city of Gary, but it creates it for all of Northwest Indiana, and we know that given the fact that we have this opportunity that it will be not just to benefit the northern part of the state but to all of Indiana," said Freeman-Wilson. "This bill provides increased revenue opportunity, through the casino development in Terre Haute and Gary, for the state of Indiana."

The bill has undergone many changes in the Senate and House, but passed through both chambers. It is now being considered by a conference committee and our partners at WIBC in Indianapolis report many differences still need to be ironed out, including whether to charge the Majestic Star's owners a fee to relocate one of its licenses to Terre Haute and how to select a casino operator for the Terre Haute location.

The bill also legalizes sports betting in Indiana, however the conference committee must still work out the mechanics of that aspect of the legislation.

  • Perspectives

    • Overseas Outsourcing Can Create a World of Problems

      The internet broke down geographic barriers for businesses, making it possible to find lower-cost suppliers around the world. But if companies lack the knowledge and skills to manage those suppliers properly, they may end up spending far more than expected. We’ve worked with companies all over the globe to help our clients meet their advertising and marketing objectives while protecting their budgets. While most of those working relationships have been positive, we’ve had...


Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Money magazine judges Fishers as 3rd best place to live in the U.S.

      Fishers Makes Top 10 List of 'Best Places to Live'

      Three communities in Indiana made the top 100 list of best places to live in the country, but only one made the top 10. Fishers was judged by Money magazine as the third best place to live in the United States, behind Clarksville, Tennessee and Round Rock, Texas.

    • 120WaterAudit Lands $7M in Funding

      Zionsville-based 120WaterAudit LLC has closed on a $7 million Series A round of funding. The company says it plans to use the funding to enhance its digital water cloud platform and expand sales and marketing efforts. The funding round was led by Indianapolis-based HG Ventures, with participation from Allos Ventures in Indy and California-based Greenhouse Capital Partners. 120WaterAudit's platform includes software and testing kits to help government agencies, public...

    • ‘Potential’ Fueling Downtown Makeover in Fort Wayne

      As Fort Wayne prepares to christen its latest big downtown project, Mayor Tom Henry says there are no signs of transformational development slowing down in the state’s second largest city. The Landing, a $34 million downtown redevelopment project, is expected to officially open soon, one of an estimated 14 projects that Henry says can help Fort Wayne become a destination city. Since the opening of Parkview Field more than a decade ago, Henry says momentum has...

    • Photo courtesy of Bristol Parks

      Startup Plans to Add 250 Jobs By 2021

      A metal forming startup is seeking to use a facility in Bristol that has been empty since 2017 for a major manufacturing operation. The Elkhart Truth reports Brinco will invest $52 million in the project and add 250 jobs.

    • New study reveals best place in Indiana for young families

      And the Best Place for Young Families Goes To...

      What do you look for in a community when deciding where to start a family and raise your children? There can be several factors to weigh in making a sound decision. Housing affordability. Unemployment rates. Quality of education. Mortage website has released the results of a study pointing to the best places for young families in Indiana.