Rod Ratcliff Faces License Suspension in Indiana

Rod Ratcliff

This week, the Indiana Gaming Commission acted against Rod Ratcliff, a former gaming executive, taking away his gaming license.

Earlier this week, the Indiana Gaming Commission decided to go after a former gaming executive in the state, Rod Ratcliff. As a founding father of the gaming industry in Indiana, Ratcliff has lost his operating license and has been told he must give up his ownership stake in the Spectacle Entertainment company.

Long-Running Investigation

Ratcliff along with John Keeler, a former executive of Spectacle, have been under investigation by the federal government for quite some time. Both men have been connected to illegal campaign contributions and the Commission no longer wants them associated with the gaming industry. Keeler has been told to sell his stake in Spectacle as well by no later than January 15.

Keeler was indicted in September for his role in the contribution deal. He did not take part in the recent meeting and interview with the Commission and at the time of this indictment, lost his license. At the time, Keeler also left the company and then he was terminated via Spectacle.

The investigation continues into the Majestic Star Casino owners, one that started way back in January. The company is connected to the illegal contribution case and they are begin affected greatly, possibly stopping plans to create a casino with Hard Rock in Gary to the tune of $300 million.

The review by the Commission started with the connections of the Majestic Star Casino owners to the federal case. It eventually revealed other issues involving Ratcliff including the fact that he did not update documents regarding the company and did not report transfers of his shares of Spectacle.

Involved in the Scheme

Back in June, Ratcliff resigned as the CEO and chairman of Spectacle. He helped found the company two years ago after selling Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand via his Centaur Gaming company to Caesars Entertainment. Before that, Ratcliff worked to bring casino gaming and horse racing to the state.

It is the fact that Ratcliff is connected to Centaur that puts him in connection with the contributions case. Authorities say that executives of Centaur met with a campaign consultant for a congressional candidate back in 2015. At the time, a plan was created so that the consultant would obtain funds for the campaign and then Centaur would pay back the money provided to the campaign by providing funds to the consultant. With the process, Centaur produced fake invoices to account for the funds.

Ratcliff has not been indicted in the case but the Commission feels that he is an unnamed executive that is listed in the indictment of Keeler. The Commission obtained information independently to make this claim. The congressional candidate in the case is former state senator Brent Waltz.

Once Ratcliff stepped down from his position as the leader of the Spectacle company, he still maintained ownership stake. He also stayed in the position involving investor relations. The Commission wants him to stop being involved in any management capacity for the Majestic Star Casino.

According to General Counsel for the Commission, Greg Small, even though Ratcliff was removed from the investor relations role in early December, he still had control over the company and was using his power.

Ratcliff has not commented in person on the matter and was represented by two attorneys during the recent meeting of the Commission. Before the Commission took action against the former executive, his attorneys tried to resolve the matter. They wanted to see a plan approved where Ratcliff could sell his stake to Greg Gibson, a businessman in Terre Haute and a co-founder of Spectacle.

However, such talks did not continue due to the Commission stating that the only way it would be considered is if Ratcliff agreed to permanently surrender his gaming license.

Associate Writer: Geoff enjoys both live and online poker as well as casino games, and is particularly knowledgeable about the legal landscape of online gambling.