ANDERSON, Ind. — A future casino is expected to bring major economic benefits to the city of Terre Haute and surrounding communities.
Vigo County approved the referendum with 63 percent of the vote Tuesday.
Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, Indiana opened in 2008. Hoosier Park currently employs 1,000 people.
When asked if this casino has helped the local economy many people living here said, you bet.
Donna Givens said Anderson would be much different without Hoosier Park.
“This would be a ghost town,” said Givens.
After having worked at the GM plant that closed in this city years ago, she’s thankful someone invested in this kind of development in Anderson.
“A lot of people have an opportunity to go to work, like myself,” said Givens who is currently training to be a live dealer.
It’s been her lifelong dream job.
“I just didn’t think I’d ever do this at age 71!” said Givens.
She hopes people in Terre Haute have a similar experience.
“The economy here is much better because of this casino, I mean, truly," explained Givens.
Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick agrees.
“It’s been a big plus for the community, as you know, our community years ago was heavily based with GM and so forth,” said Broderick.
Now, he says the city is getting about 2.6 million dollars per year in gaming revenue.
Terre Haute is expecting even more.
The Indiana Gaming Commission is accepting applications for casino companies until December 1.
So far, Full House Resorts and Spectacle Entertainment are the only ones that have expressed interest publicly.
Spectacle said it has been working on this proposal for quite some time and already formed a partnership with the Hard Rock brand, if selected.
“Which in our judgement is sort of the gold standard when it comes to casinos so we are excited about that,” said John Keeler, Vice President, Spectacle Entertainment.
We asked Mayor Broderick if he worries a new casino in Terre Haute will impact success in Anderson.
“I don’t think it will have any adverse effect on Anderson whatsoever,” said Broderick.
If anything, Broderick said he believes the whole state would benefit from more competition in gaming.
“We welcome it and we look forward to really a community that’s not too far away from us having some of the benefits that we see,” said Broderick.
“Hope it happens for them, give people an opportunity to go to work,” said Givens.
And maybe even follow their dreams, like Givens gets to. She’s already ahead of the others, chosen as this week’s shining star…”
Once the Indiana Gaming Commission makes its decision we could see construction on a casino in Terre Haute begin as soon as Spring of 2020.