Indiana Supreme Court Suspends Former Casino Executive’s Law License

Posted on June 20, 2022

The Indiana Supreme Court is sending down a new punishment for the Spectacle Entertainment scandal. The group unanimously agreed to suspend John Keeler’s law license.

Keeler is a former Indiana casino executive who admitted to a role in a political money fulling scheme.

Another hit for John Keeler

Keeler recently pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return as part of a plan to funnel money from his gambling company into politics.

Specifically, that $25,000 went to the Marion County Republican Party to help Brent Waltz run for office. Waltz also admitted to his role in the scandal earlier this year.

At one point in time, Keeler was the vice president of Centaur Gaming. The company eventually changed its name to Spectacle Entertainment.

Keeler allegedly used an outside consultant in Maryland to funnel the money. He sent the money to the consultant, who then charged Centaur with fake invoices for the money. After that, the consultant wired it over to the Republican Finance Committee in Indianapolis.

All of that could land Keeler up to three years in prison. His sentencing date hasn’t been scheduled yet.

Despite what happens with his sentencing, Keeler will not be able to practice law until the court reinstates his license.

Spectacle fallout continues

The Indiana Supreme Court’s decision is just the most recent example of the never-ending fallout from the situation.

At one point in time, Keeler was an important figure in the state’s gaming industry.

Centaur used to own what’s now Harrah’s Hoosier Park and Horseshoe Indianapolis, the two casinos closest to Indianapolis. The company eventually sold both properties to Caesars.

Keeler also played a huge role in getting Gary’s casino project up and running. That process built Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana to replace the aging Majestic Star riverboats.

Keeler helped grease the wheels for that $300 million project.

That included being a regular at the statehouse back in 2019 when Indiana was considering the move. Add in regular meetings in Gary to help secure the new casino’s location, and Keeler ended up being a key figure in the process.

Things worked out for the Gary casino, but the Spectacle Scandal ended up spoiling Hard Rock’s plans for Terre Haute.

The company originally owned the rights to build a new casino in Vigo County, before the gaming commission ultimately revoked them.

Churchill Downs is running the show for the project now, but the situation was a huge blow for Hard Rock.

Even years after it began, there are still new consequences coming down the pipeline from the scandal. At this rate, John Keeler losing his law license might not be the final repercussion.

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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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