On Friday, the Indiana Gaming Commission announced that it is investigating the Spectacle Entertainment. The commission claims it has received information that one of the executives of the gaming operator has been involved in unlawful deals.
The announcement comes barely two weeks after Spectacle Entertainment in conjunction with Hard Rock International, broke ground on a $300 million casino in Gary. In the deal, Spectacle will own the casino while Hard Rock runs its operations.
Rod Ratcliff established the Spectacle Entertainment in 2019. Besides Spectacle, Ratcliff is also the former owner of Centaur Gaming and Greg Gibson. Besides being a successful businessman in Indian, Rod also had lots of influence in the social domain.
Their union came months after Centaur sold off two of its properties to Caesars Entertainment for $1.7 billion. According to a report by one widely published author who’s now writing for Casino.org as a reporter, months after their union, Spectacle bought the Majestic Star riverboats casino in Gary. The investigation could have a negative impact on the Spectacle’s gaming ambitions.
Already, IGC has postponed a hearing on Spectacle’s application for an open license. Another hearing that was meant to take place on February 7, might also be postponed. The spectacle was to present its application for a license to build a casino worth $150 million in Vigo County. However, there is no assurance that the questioning and investigation would not affect the operations of Majestic Star boats, thought the high chances are that it will not.
Trouble for Spectacle does not seem to begin or end with the investigations. On Thursday, Charles O’Neil pleaded guilty to accusations of misusing campaign money contributed towards a congressional candidate in 2015.
Centaur Gaming is the company implicated in the case. The key people mentioned in the case formerly worked for Centaur and are now executives with the Spectacle. One such example is John Keeler, former vice president of Centaur and currently holds the same position at Spectacle. Keeler refused to give out a statement on the issue.
The interesting fact is that it is not the first time Spectacle is being mentioned in a scandal. Last year, around the month of March, reports came out that the gaming operator had violated some ethics by offering private jet rides to a politician.
The flights are said to have given Spectacle officials’ access to Holcomb just before they announced their intention to buy the Gary casinos. Keeler came out strongly defending the company saying they had done no wrong.
With the sudden turn of events, Hard Rock has given a statement saying it is well aware of what is going on and its implications. Hard Rock has asserted that it will be looking at all the facts critically and that will determine its next course of action.
In September, hard Rock had delayed finalizing the agreement with Spectacle until it cleared out some land issues. The delay forced Spectacle to apply for another approval to move inland, which fortunately was approved on December 17.