Former Horseshoe Southern Indiana Riverboat Departs For New Home

Posted on August 19, 2020 - Last Updated on September 3, 2020

The world’s largest riverboat set sail for its new home last week.

The old home of Caesars Southern Indiana started its journey to Alabama, unlikely to return to the Hoosier State.

Former Indiana riverboat casino

When it first opened shop back in 1998, “Glory of Rome” housed one of Indiana’s first casinos.

Formerly known as Horseshoe Southern Indiana, the casino called the riverboat its home for over two decades.

When Horseshoe first opened, it departed on hour-long trips down the river for paying customers. The ship stopped sailing back in 2001.

In 2015, Indiana passed a law allowing riverboat casinos to move off of the water and into land-based properties.

Eventually, construction began on the building that would take Glory of Rome’s spot as the casino’s home.

That building opened up in December 2019, and with it, the casino’s name changed to Caesars Southern Indiana.

Caesars Southern Indiana for sale

The new building is up for sale, even though it’s only been open for less than a year.

The Indiana Gaming Commission is forcing the sale of the casino as part of Eldorado’s merger with Caesars.

Sitting right across the Ohio River from Louisville, the casino has always had great access to both Indiana and Kentucky’s gambling markets. Because of that Kentucky proximity, Churchill Downs might end up as the leading candidate to buy the property.

Regardless of the new building’s future, the old riverboat now needs a new home.

For now it’s headed to Alabama for some maintenance, but its forever home may end up being in Florida.

Glory of Rome in Florida

One of the possible destinations for the riverboat is the Port of Pensacola.

Amy Miller, the port’s director, told the Pensacola News Journal that the port is working on a deal to keep the riverboat there permanently.

“If we are able to reach an agreement with the company, we are looking at potentially developing a site on the east side of the port in the area identified in the Port Vision Plan for non-traditional, maritime-related uses. This would include development of new public access to that area.”

New public access areas would be an important part of the deal since the riverboat is so massive.

Between its four decks, Glory of Rome can hold up to 5,000 passengers at a time.

That’s a lot of people at once, so wherever the riverboat ends up, it’ll need tons of parking and other accommodations.

However, it ultimately depends on what Larry Wireman, the ship’s new owner, decides to do with the riverboat.

If Glory of Rome’s new home is in Pensacola, it’ll likely spend its future years as a restaurant, entertainment venue and conference center.

It wouldn’t take much maintenance to get the ship ready for that kind of role. But that won’t be the case if Wireman decides to transform the ship into a hotel.

If the hotel route ends up happening, the riverboat will likely head to Jacksonville.

Nothing’s set in stone yet, but Glory of Rome’s future likely includes the Sunshine State. It’s a long ways away from the ship’s original Indiana home, but Glory of Rome will still be in service for years to come.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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