On July 1, 1993, the RIVERBOAT GAMBLING ACT (Act), enacted by Public Law 277-1993 and codified at Indiana Code 4-33, et. seq., became effective, legalizing casino gaming on riverboats. In general, the Act established the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) and vested it with the authority both to issue not more than 11 riverboat licenses in specified areas of the State of Indiana and to regulate the operation of the riverboats along with related businesses, occupations and schools. The Act authorized the Governor to appoint the bipartisan seven-member commission and directed that the initial commission be appointed by September 1, 1993. The first meeting of the IGC was held September 7, 1993. While the Act requires the IGC to hold at least one meeting each quarter of the fiscal year, the IGC has greatly exceeded that statutory minimum in each year of its existence. This past year was no exception, as the IGC maintained an aggressive meeting schedule to regulate the operating riverboat casino industry, open two more riverboat casinos and continue hearings and deliberation on the final license for the Ohio River.
This, the fifth Annual Report, chronicles a year during which the IGC became more of a regulatory body than a licensing body. In 1997, an IGC meeting was more likely to have an agenda containing occupational licensee issues, disciplinary actions and the enactment of rules than it was to have a public hearing for the issuance of a certificate of suitability. That is not to say, however, that the IGC did not perform both functions.
Among the changes the IGC underwent this past year, the most notable one is the change in leadership brought on by the retirement of Chairman Alan I. Klineman. Chairman Klineman was the first Chair of the IGC and had held that position since the IGC was named in September of 1993. Donald R. Vowels, one of the original Commissioners, has succeeded Klineman as Chair and Richard J. Darko, an Attorney in Indianapolis and former Commissioner with the Indiana Horse Racing Commission has become the seventh Commission member. In addition, an overview of the IGC's year shows the following:
- The five Riverboat Owner's Licenses authorized for Lake Michigan are all operational. The Showboat Mardi Gras Casino in East Chicago opened in April of 1997 and the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City opened in August of 1997.
- The IGC authorized the opening of permanent and larger riverboat casinos at Argosy Casino, Lawrenceburg in September of 1997 and at Majestic Star Casino, Gary, in late October of 1997. In addition, the IGC authorized the expansion of existing permanent vessels at Empress Casino, Hammond and Trump Casino, Gary.
- In addition to the increase in vessel size, the IGC oversaw the opening of a permanent pavilion and hotel at the Grand Victoria Casino and Resort in Rising Sun and the opening of the permanent pavilion at Argosy Casino, Lawrenceburg.
- The IGC authorized the funding for the hotel at Trump Casino, Gary, which broke ground in September of 1997.
- As of December 31, 1997, the IGC had issued licenses, be it temporary or permanent, to approximately Eleven Thousand Ninety-two (11,092) occupational licensees and to approximately Nineteen (19) supplier licensees.
- The IGC is in position to open the ninth operational riverboat in Harrison County, Indiana upon completion of the Army Corps of Engineer permitting process. This opening could take place during 1998 should all of the permitting issues be resolved. The opening and operation of the fourth riverboat on the Ohio River should provide the IGC with critical information germane to the issuance of the final license on the Ohio River.
- The six riverboats operational for all of 1997, along with the two which became operational during 1997, had a total win of Nine Hundred Sixty-one Million Nine Hundred Thirty-seven Thousand Eight Hundred Twenty-three Dollars ($961,937,823.00). The adjusted gross receipts generated a wagering tax of One Hundred Ninety-two Million Five Hundred Four Thousand Four Hundred Seventy Dollars ($192,504,470.00). The Admission tax paid for 1997 was Seventy-four Million Three Hundred Forty-three Thousand Seven Hundred One Dollars ($74,343,701.00), for a total tax paid of Two Hundred Sixty-six Million Eight Hundred Forty-eight Thousand One Hundred Seventy-one Dollars ($266,848,171.00).
- The IGC received and published annual reports on the first four riverboats opened in the State of Indiana. These reports are prepared by the Center for Urban Policy and the Environment and provide the IGC with an independent view as to whether the riverboats are fulfilling their promises and obligations in such areas as:
- money expended on, and amenities included in, the project;
- fulfillment of monetary and other promises made to the home docksite and the state;
- employment expectations;
- steps toward achieving MBE/WBE goals; and,
- a comparison between the revenue and tax projected versus the actual revenue and tax numbers attained.
The reports will continue annually for each riverboat gambling operation and are available at the State Archives for public viewing and copying.
- On September 29, 1997 the IGC opened its doors at its new office space marking the fourth time since 1993 that the office has been relocated. The new space should be for the long term, as there is sufficient room for the necessary expansion of staff, the maintenance of records and the co-housing of the IGC staff with the headquarters portion of the Gaming Division of the Indiana State Police. The new address is:
Indiana Gaming Commission
National City Center
South Tower, Suite 950
115 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-3408
The telephone numbers remain the same, specifically: the main office number remains (317) 233-0046 and the fax number remains (317) 233-0047.
The Indiana Gaming Commission is proud of its very significant accomplishments, not the least of which is the extremely capable and efficient way that the statutory goals have been achieved while maintaining the high degree of integrity this regulatory process and the State of Indiana demand.