Terre Haute’s new Hard Rock Casino has one more hurdle to clear before construction can begin.
The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) did not approve the project’s financing at its recent meeting.
Casinos are expensive, so construction can’t begin until the IGC gives everything the green light.
The commission could approve the funding at its next meeting on June 24, but the casino’s parent company has some loose ends to tie up first.
Hard Rock Indiana needs license
The Hard Rock’s funding hit a snag because its parent company needs to renew its casino license.
Lucy Luck Gaming acquired the license to build the new “Rocksino” back in 2020.
The company would have settled the project’s financing last year, but the Spectacle Entertainment scandal made things complicated.
Spectacle used to own Lucy Luck, and some of the company’s officials were allegedly involved in a political money funneling scheme.
That eventually led to Spectacle selling Lucy Luck to Terre Haute businessman Greg Gibson. The company is now free from that scandal, but the situation still delayed progress for the new Rocksino.
So much time has gone by that Lucy Luck has to renew the casino license it received last year. If everything goes according to plan, that renewal will take place on June 21.
That’s why the IGC didn’t want to approve the Rocksino’s financing before its June 24 meeting. The commission just wants to be 100% sure that Lucy Luck actually owns the license before it starts construction on the casino.
If construction had started in advance and problems developed with the license renewal, then that could have left a partially built casino building with no one to operate it.
Lucky Luck is working on that renewal process right now, but a paperwork problem could still derail things for the company.
Hard Rock Terre Haute’s paperwork problem
Fallout from Spectacle Entertainment lawsuit
Spectacle might not own Lucy Luck anymore, but the company’s scandal is still affecting things in Terre Haute. After Spectacle’s debacle, the IGC created some new rules to help avoid scandals in the future. Those rules require casino owners to apply for a Level 1 occupational license in Indiana.
In order to receive that license, those owners have to send detailed financial background information to the IGC.
Spectacle’s owners hate this new requirement, to say the least. They’re suing the IGC to try and keep their information private. Those financial disclosure rules apply to every casino operator in the state, including Lucy Luck.
Lucy Luck owners miss IGC deadline
Apparently, some of the company’s officials are dragging their feet when it comes to sending the right paperwork over to the gaming commission.
Lucy Luck missed its original May 14 deadline to comply with the IGC’s new rules.
That has Gibson trying to patch the holes in the ship. He’s been buying out Lucy Luck’s minority owners to get the ball rolling.
Much like Spectacle’s owners, many of Lucy Luck’s investors are not exactly eager to send out the extra financial information.
Gibson offered buyouts to 14 of Lucy Luck’s minority owners. Eight of those investors have agreed to deals so far, and the rest are still negotiating.
The remaining minority owners will have to either sell their stakes or comply with the IGC’s rules before Lucy Luck can renew its casino license.
Gibson and company have until June 21 to make that happen, but the Rocksino could be facing another delay if they can’t deliver.
Lucy Luck is hoping to hold its groundbreaking ceremony in Terre Haute by the first week of July.
Hitting that construction date hinges on whether or not the company can wrap up its unfinished paperwork problem in time.
Making their target date public suggests that Lucy Luck is confident that its license renewal will go off without another hitch.
That would be great news for Hoosier gamblers, who could be visiting the new Rocksino by fall 2022 if construction finally gets underway.