Horseshoe Southern Indiana Prepares For Riverboat’s Final Float

Posted on December 4, 2019 - Last Updated on December 10, 2019

Like its namesake in history, the Glory of Rome can’t last forever. Horseshoe Southern Indiana plans to give its riverboat casino a better end than the Roman Empire, however.

The riverboat’s final day of operations will be Thursday, Dec. 12. A new era for the gambling industry in Harrison County will begin the following day.

Horseshoe Southern Indiana after the Glory of Rome

Because of a 2015 change to state law, riverboat casinos can move inland. Caesars, which owns the Horseshoe Southern Indiana, is taking advantage of that opportunity.

The new facility will cost over $90 million to build, and occupy 110,000 square feet. The casino’s general manager and vice president, Brad Siegel, said the move to a land-based facility has multiple advantages.

Siegel denoted having all the gaming on one floor – as opposed to four on the riverboat – helps with traffic flow. It also allows patrons a direct line of sight to the best action, like a hot table.

The Glory of Rome isn’t the only casino boat being retired. The Majestic Star, both I and II, are also moving off Lake Michigan. Similar to Horseshoe, the new construction will be operating under a different name.

The re-branded casino inland in Gary will bear the Hard Rock name. While the state approved land-based casinos years before sports betting, it’s hard to miss the correlation between these moves and the introduction of legal sports betting to the Hoosier State.

Why sports betting is a motivation for inland relocation

Just as a sportsbook is a must for any casino in Indiana, housing that sportsbook on land makes the operation much easier compared to doing the same on the water. It’s a technical matter.

Even retail sportsbooks receive and transmit data crucial to their operations via the internet. While it’s possible to do so wirelessly, reliability and speed would suffer in that model.

Internet connectivity can also be spotty for riverboat patrons who prefer to use online sports betting products. Natural structures around rivers can hinder wireless signals.

Consequently, it was a priority for the casino operators who were still using riverboats to move inland. The industry has shifted to value all-inclusive facilities with many amenities available to customers.

Other amenities at the new Caesars casino in Elizabeth

A sportsbook is just one of such amenities. Others include convention space, concert venues, hotels, multiple eateries, and spas.

Years after leaving the Caesars name behind, the Southern Indiana location will reassume it. Construction crews broke ground in May and expect completion will take 18 months.

Plans include five new restaurants, three new bars, and a lounge area alongside the gaming floor. The lounge will serve as an entertainment space and will feature floor-to-ceiling windows.

All of that is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to offer patrons on a riverboat. Moving inland creates the opportunity for all of those offerings.

The Glory of Rome became a significant part of the Harrison County landscape over the last 21 years, offering employment and entertainment. The new inland casino has the potential to build on that exponentially.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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