Spectacle Entertainment at Risk of Losing Indiana Gaming License
After the federal government indicted an executive of Spectacle Entertainment, the company is at risk of losing their gaming license in Indiana.
For any operator to offer casino gaming in the United States legally, they must have a license granted by the proper authorities. In each state, this will vary, from a gaming board to commission. The operator must then follow the guidelines of the regulators, not breaking any laws, to maintain that license. In the state of Indiana, Spectacle Entertainment is at risk of losing its gaming license, after the federal government suspended the license of the company’s vice president and general counsel based on a federal indictment.
What’s Going On?
Spectacle Entertainment is based in Indianapolis and operates the Majestic Star Casino. This gaming venue is located in Gary. They received permission to move the casino inland just a short time ago. For the land-based venue, the operator is spending $300 million on the development and working with Hard Rock International.
On the very same day, the occupational license of John Keeler was suspended while Spectacle Gaming VP and general counsel appeared in federal court in Indiana via teleconference due to charges of violating campaign finance laws.
The Indiana Gaming Commission has been investigating Spectacle since the first of the year, after learning that executives, that included Keeler, worked at the predecessor company of Spectacle and were connected to a campaign scheme. Reportedly, the executives used funds of the company to reimburse contributors to a campaign involving Brent Waltz, who was running for a seat in Congress five years ago.
Waltz has also been indicted in the case, along with the executives. Spectacle stated earlier this week that Keeler took administrative leave after he was charged in the case and his profile is no longer listed on the website of the company. Spectacle says that it is important to remember that Keeler is presumed innocent of the charges and there will be no further comment on the matter at this time.
Covering Up the Scheme
The indictment of Keeler in the case helped to provide insight as to what allegedly took place regarding the scheme. It is believed that the scheme dates back to when Keeler worked at New Centaur LLC, a company responsible for two racetracks in Indiana.
Back in April 2015, a consultant of Waltz, Kelley Davis, reportedly met with an unnamed executive of Centaur at the airport in Indianapolis and agreed to the company contributing to the campaign. Fake invoices were reportedly made and sent to New Centaur to provide a cover for the contributions and disguise the money as payment made for services.
Two bills were sent that totaled just under $80,000. Nine people were secured to donate money to Waltz’s campaign and officials agreed to reimburse them. The Centaur money was said to be used to pay back those who agreed to donate.
In 2018, Centaur decided to sell its two racetracks to Caesars Entertainment. The company then formed Spectacle and had one goal in mind, to buy the Majestic Star. A law from 2019 allowed the company to move a riverboat casino to land.
Spectacle was approved for the project and the company was excited to be working with Hard Rock on the new venue. However, just three weeks after the announcement, the Gaming Commission announced they were investigating Spectacle Entertainment.
In a statement this week, the Gaming Commission said they are still investigating the company. They are trying to determine if Spectacle Entertainment and the former employees of Centaur Gaming are suitable to offer casino services in the state. The Commission expects to present information to the public when appropriate. Such investigations take time and are not considered lightly, so it may be some time still before Spectacle knows if they will be able to lose or keep their gaming license.