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Vigo County Casino Vote Passes Overwhelmingly

possible rendering of a Vigo County casino

(Spectacle Entertainment)

Voters in Vigo County approved a referendum to build a casino by a 63% margin Tuesday night.

“I think the benefit economically would be much needed for here,” John Zeller says, who voted for the casino.

The political action committee that funded the campaign for the casino projects 150 to 200 constructions jobs created by the casino plus up to 600 permanent jobs at the casino.

“It’s more a lot more than gambling, its entertainment, and some potential operators have talked about live music,” Brian Kooistra says, Co-Chair of the Advance West Central Indiana PAC.

Revenues from a gaming tax would be divided up evenly among Terre Haute and the surrounding communities, including a half-million dollars annually to Terre Haute schools and another half million to the West Central 2025, a group of 6 counties in western Indiana that teamed up to advance each other’s regional issues.

Supporters say its revenue that could have ended up in Illinois, if a casino was built there first.

“Illinois has passed some sweeping gaming legislation, definitely people on this side of the border felt it was important to move first, and be the first the first to get to construction,” Kooistra says.

Though no official site for Terre Haute’s casino has been chosen,  Mayor Duke Bennett has expressed a preference for this plot of land next to the Wal-Mart on Highway 40, just north of Interstate 70.

“I just felt like it would bring our neighborhood values down, I felt like it would bring in crime,” Vanessa Shepard-Smith says, who voted against the casino.

Casino backers say they will take concerns of residents into consideration when choosing a site.

“As Far as decreasing home values, wherever the casino is placed, it will be placed in an appropriate location so that wouldn’t happen,” Kooistra says.

The next step in this process is for potential operators to submit their applications to the state gaming commission by December 1st.

Construction on the new casino could start sometime in 2020.

 

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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