Indiana Regulators Ready to Remove Ratcliff’s License
The Indiana Gaming Commission is ready to continue with the process of revoking the gaming license held by Rod Ratcliff.
Things are not looking good for casino owner Rod Ratcliff. Over the past few months, the Indiana Gaming Commission has been investigating the license holder and companies he has been associated with. It now appears as though the Commission will be moving ahead with removing the license of Ratcliff due to investigation findings.
What’s Going On?
Ratcliff was the CEO and chairman of Spectacle Entertainment. In the past, he had a similar position within Centaur Gaming. Years ago, Centaur Gaming reportedly took part in a scheme that resulted in illegal campaign contributions to an Indiana Senator. During the investigation, details emerged which led to the temporary suspension of Ratcliff’s gaming license back in late December 2020.
The case involving the illegal campaign contributions does not include Ratcliff at this time, at least, charges have not been filed. Investigators from the Commission do feel that he is the unnamed executive mentioned in the case that met with the campaign consultant to set up how the scheme would work.
Along with reviewing the case, officials of the Commission also discover other violations of gaming law in the state. The Commission says that Spectacle did not accurately update its records and did not reveal secret transfers of stock. The company also did not provide the Commission with information that there was a change of Ratcliff’s trustee.
The Commission is also claiming that Ratcliff continued to work at Spectacle via the Majestic Star Casino after he stepped down from his role as CEO and chairman of the company. An order had been issued directly from the Commission that he stop having any sort of authority within the company.
In a recent filing, the Commission says that based on the information in a recent complaint, Ratcliff does not have high standards of character and the reputation required to hold a gaming license in Indiana. Any of the matters revealed should lead to the revocation of the gaming license.
The license loss puts the Majestic Star at risk, but also a potential deal with Hard Rock Northern Indiana. The assets of the Majestic Star riverboats were supposed to be transferred to the Hard Rock with a $300 million casino opening in Gary this year.
There is also a new allegation placed against Ratcliff in the revocation resolution by the Commission. When he was in charge of Centaur, the Commission claims the employees of the company would make large deposits to a FastBet account that was held in Ratcliff’s name. The deposits amounted to $900,000.
According to the Commission, the money was transferred from the casinos of the tracks operated by Centaur under a category listed as ‘marketing other’. The deposits took place over a four year time frame starting in 2015.
Ratcliff did provide the Commission with information regarding win/loss statements on his application for a gaming license back in 2018. However, the FastBet deposits were not included in that information. The Commission feels that this nondisclosure of information could lead to additional revolutions that are not in favor of Ratcliff.
The Commission feels that because of his behavior, Ratcliff would not adhere to regulations connected to the state’s racing industry as well as remain in compliance with the federal and state tax laws. They also feel he will not maintain or submit accounting documentation correctly.
Officials pointed out that Ratcliff had plenty of time to provide evidence of the funds to investigators and he did not.
In response, Ratcliff has filed a lawsuit to try and see the suspension of his license overturned. He filed the suit on January 20, just a few weeks before this new ruling was made.