HARRISON COUNTY, IN (WAVE) - After 20 years on the water, plans are moving forward to bring gaming on land in Harrison County, Indiana.
Caesars Indiana was the first to bring legalized gambling to the area in 1998, with the largest riverboat casino on earth. The casino re-branded as Horseshoe in 2008. That boat has been docked since 2002, but plans are in the works for a new, on-land facility at its current site near Elizabeth.
The casino is staying quiet about the possible change until next week. But on its meeting agenda for next Tuesday, the Indiana Gaming Commission has Horseshoe casino listed for possible relocation on to land.
"It seems like there's always a lot of cars there, because I have to drive by it everyday" said Dennis Miller, a Harrison County resident.
There's always a steady stream of people heading to Horseshoe Casino. Plans to move gaming ashore are moving forward, something many around Harrison County see as a good thing.
"I think it would be, the boat's starting to look kind of rough," Miller said.
"Yeah, it's been great for Harrison County as far as revenue goes," said Alex Lasky, a Harrison County resident.
"With them here, it's just been a blessing for us and I feel a good partnership for them, too," said Kyle Nix, a Harrison County councilmember. Over the last 20 years, Nix said, the millions in casino revenues have done a lot of good in the community.
"Have helped to impact our roadways, construction of roadways, allowed us to have money to benefit nonprofits in the communities that have helped us, 4H, Boys and Girls Club," Nix said.
"This county for sure. When I was much younger, we still had many gravel roads throughout the county. And every single one is paved these days. The community foundation founds all sorts of projects," Lasky said.
"You can see it everywhere," Miller said.
Plans were approved by the county in January to demolish the existing sky bridge that connects the parking garage to the casino and construct a new building between the existing casino and garage - with gambling on the second floor.
The county's planning director Eric Wise said the state has since approved the casino's plans for the new foundation. It's a change many hope will keep the relationship with the casino strong for years to come.
"If they're willing to invest in Harrison County and stay here long term, then we'd be lucky to have them," Nix said. "They're a very big job holder in the community, so just the excitement in the air of them talking about reinvesting in us for the potential of maybe another 20 year investment, has a lot of excitement. So we'll stay tuned like everyone else."
The Indiana gaming commission will meet next Tuesday to discuss the relocation.
Plans for the proposed casino are below: