Nearly half of the shareholders in the parent company of the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in Gary have filed a lawsuit regarding new rules implemented by the Indiana Gaming Commission. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the rules require greater disclosure of the shareholders’ financial records and business interests.
The rules were unanimously approved by the IGC last month. The group of shareholders in Indianapolis-based Spectacle Entertainment Group LLC filed the lawsuit two weeks ago in Marion County Superior Court, claiming the IGC exceeded its authority by adopting emergency rules that “will cause immediate and irreparable harm.”
The plaintiffs claim the IGC cannot require shareholders to disclose detailed financial and background information that would be needed to acquire a Level 1 occupational license. Additionally, the rules would apply the same requirements to anyone with an interest in any entity that has a stake in Spectacle, The Times reports.
“In other words, the IGC attempts to extend its jurisdiction to shareholders of gaming companies. What is more the IGC attempts to extend its jurisdiction to shareholders of shareholders of gaming companies,” the lawsuit says. “The IGC’s attempt to extend its jurisdiction to holders of an equity interest is beyond the scope of authority granted by the Indiana General Assembly.”
The lawsuit claims a Level 1 occupational license is required for those who have completed training on how to operate gambling games on a riverboat. “An Occupational Licensee would be, for example, a pit boss, not an investor whose only participation is through his or her equitable interest.”
Among the plaintiffs are Laelaps LLC and MD Twenty-Twenty LLC, which are registered to former State Representative and former Indiana Republican Party Treasurer Daniel Dumezich, according to the publication. Matthew Whetstone a former state representative, and Stephen Hilbert, a one-time business partner of former President Donald Trump, are also listed as plaintiffs.
IGC Executive Director Sara Tait tells The Times the new rules are “designed to enhance the public’s trust in the industry” and “ensure the integrity of gaming in Indiana.” She said the commission consulted with other gaming jurisdictions and found that the rules include “provisions that are already industry standards.”
“As is our practice, I offered the industry the ability to review these rules and offer feedback,” said Tait. “Several operators and applicants offered support for this initiative, as well as very helpful feedback and clarifying language, which were incorporated into the document.”
The publication reports the IGC has not formally responded to the lawsuit and a hearing has not been scheduled.
You can read the full story from The Times of Northwest Indiana by clicking here.