Pro-casino PAC raised $162,500 for election effort

Tribune-Star/Joseph C. GarzaSing, signs, everywhere signs: A yard sign in front of the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau supports a casino in Terre Haute on Friday.

A political action committee advocating for a new casino in Terre Haute raised $162,200, according to a pre-election finance report filed Oct. 14 with the Indiana Secretary of State.

The largest single contribution during the reporting period, at $62,500, was from Spectacle Entertainment, a gaming company expected to file an application with the state for the license to run a casino in Vigo County. Among Spectacles lead investors and officers are Terre Haute businessman Greg Gibson and Rod Ratcliff, former Centaur Gaming CEO.

Spectacle’s total contribution since the formation of the PAC in July was $125,000.

Unions from the building trades were also leading contributors to the pro-casino PAC, according to the report that covers contributions and expenditures between April 13 to Oct. 11.

Labor contribution totals were:

• International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 841, Terre Haute $15,000.

• International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) PAC Voluntary Fund, Washington, D.C. $5,000.

• Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 204, Terre Haute $5,000.

• Building and Construction Trades Council, Terre Haute, $5,000.

• Local 157 PAC Fund, (Plumbers and Steamfitters) Terre Haute, $1,500.

• Carpenters Local 133 PAC, Terre Haute, $2,500.

• Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Carpenters, Terre Haute, $2,500.

Also listed was an individual contribution from Brian Kooistra of Brazil, $500. Kooistra is chief operating officer at Garmong Construction Services. Kooistra served as co-chair of Advance West Central Indiana

Other contributions include Sara Smith of Terre Haute with $100. Smith served as treasurer of Advance West Central Indiana, and Robert Puckett Collett of Terre Haute with $100.

Expenses

Advance West Central listed expenses of $121,773, with $40,461 cash on hand at the end of the reporting period. The largest total expenses were paid to consulting services in Alexandria, Virginia, Indianapolis and Terre Haute.

Hallowell Consulting of Indianapolis received $22,500; Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria received $22,000; RJL Solutions LLC of Terre Haute received $16,000.

The largest single expense was to HG Creative Partners of Indianapolis for mailing at $49,239. Some other expenses include $5,213 to Harcourt Outlines Inc. for signs and $1,500 to Mike Ellis Properties for office rent.

All other expenses were individually less than $1,000. They include U.S. Postal Service $385; Advantage Direct of Naples, Fla for advertising $792; The Landing at Fort Harrison $347; Sackrider & Company $536; Sign Express $584; A Sign Stop $674; BigPicture Data Imaging for rack cards and banners $542; Single Ink for printing $876; Barns & Thornburg of Indianapolis $406 for attorney fees.

Earlier this month, Vigo County residents approved inland gaming in the county in the general election. The casino referendum passed 15,145 to 8,729, a split of 63.44% percent in favor to 36.56% against.

Applying for a casino license requires a $50,000 fee, and the successful applicant would pay the commission a $5 million license fee. The state has set a $100 million minimum investment on the part of the operator.

The Indiana Gaming Commission will review applications and is expected to award the license in the first quarter of 2020. Spectacle Entertainment and Full House Resorts both have publicly stated interest in operating a Vigo casino.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.

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