The lawsuit over owning a new $ 300 million casino in northwest Indiana could see it remain idle months after construction is completed.
The Indiana Gaming Commission has told the parent company of Gary’s Majestic Star Casinos that they should be ready to keep their gambling boats running along Lake Michigan until at least June, rather than pushing ahead with plans to close them in March or April when the new inland casino Gary should open, the (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.
The move was taken to keep existing casino operations going after the commission moved in December to force a long-time heavyweight in the Indian gambling industry to give up its stake in Spectacle Entertainment, which owns the existing casinos and Hard Rock under construction Casino belong to Northern Indiana.
“Unfortunately, the actions of the Spectacle related parties have created a high level of uncertainty as to the suitability and the project timeline,” said Sara Gonso Tait, executive director of the commission. “Until an acceptable path is found, the Commission will continue to act within its powers to protect gaming revenues and employees of the current operations in Gary.”
Former Spectacle CEO Rod Ratcliff filed a lawsuit against the commission in January alleging they had wronged him without allowing a fair hearing on allegations that he remained in control in violation of government orders the company exercised.
The commission has said Ratcliff has launched a program to illegally channel money from casino companies to the unsuccessful 2016 Republican Congressional campaign by a former lawmaker. Ratcliff’s lawsuit alleges that state regulators interfered with his efforts to sell his 22% stake in Spectacle by forcing him to a “fire sale” price from Hard Rock International.
A longtime Ratcliff business partner, former Spectacle Vice President John Keeler, was charged in September with alleged straw donation contributions. Ratcliff has not been charged in federal proceedings and denies any wrongdoing.