The Advance West Central Indiana PAC has started holding public meetings to discuss plans for a new casino in Vigo County.
Around 25 people were present at the group’s first forum, which is supporting the effort to build a new gambling venue.
Chairman of the political action committee, John Collett, told the audience about previous efforts to build a casino in the area, and the financial advantages it would bring.
If the people of Vigo vote in favor of a new casino, the Indiana Gaming Commission will take operators’ applications until December 1 before choosing the best fit.
Until the operator is chosen, plans will remain on hold because it will be up to the company and community leaders to agree on a local development contract.
The state requires an investment of at least $100 million by whomever takes on the project, which Collett suggests would create 150 construction jobs and around 400 other jobs ranging all the way from bar staff to security.
Collett added that even if the venue was to see a very modest income, it would still bring in around $7 million each year in taxes.
The money would be divided among the city, county, Vigo County School Corp and West Central 2025, a regional economic development group.
Extra benefits could be folded into the community agreement; meaning each division could receive even more money in the long run.
The city would see around 40% of the money, the county 30%, and the other 15% would be split between Vigo County School Corp and West Central 2025.
Collett suggested that tax benefits from increased traffic and employment in the area should be considered an advantage by voters.
Despite the rising popularity of online slots, a 2019 Indiana Legislative Services Agency fiscal impact statement estimated that as many as 1.1 million people could visit a Terre Haute casino annually.
The community played devil’s advocate with the committee throughout the meeting, asking about the negative impact the casino could have on the community.
Questions showed concern about a possible increase in crime and the number of people suffering from gambling addictions.
In response, Collett told the audience that local leaders are already in talks with Harsha Behavioral Center and Hamilton Center. Both provide care for those struggling with addiction.
He added that crime in the county, in his opinion, never seemed to rise – Collett said that while spikes happen every now and again, they often coincide with a population increase.
He also said a voluntary self-exclusion program would come into place so that gamblers could choose to put themselves on a restriction list from entering gambling venues.
At least two casino operators are interested in opening a Terre Haute casino — Spectacle Entertainment and Full House Resorts.
While we wait to see if this casino gets the go-ahead, here are ten casinos you should definitely visit in your lifetime.