The Mayor of Shelbyville Indiana Scott Furgeson addresses the crowd at the ribben cutting ceremony of the Indiana Down Live Casino. After the ribbon was cut VIP’s took part in playing the slots, drinking wine and sampling the food. (Photo Perry Reichanadter)
Indiana Downs LLC opened Phase 1 of its Indiana Live Casino at the Indiana Downs horse track in Shelbyville last month. The temporary, 70,000-square-foot racino?said to be the world?s largest ?sprung? structure?is some 25 miles southeast of Indianapolis on Interstate 74, a prime link to Cincinnati, Ohio.
Built and managed by the Cordish Company, a Baltimore-based developer, Indiana Live is the second of two racinos allowed by Indiana law. The other, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, opened June 2 in Anderson, about 30 miles northeast of Indianapolis.
The initial Indiana Downs operation includes a Café Live by Wolfgang Puck, also located for now near the track?s backstretch. Construction continues on 233,000 square feet of permanent facilities connected to the grandstand that are due to open in January with 570 workers. They include three restaurants, two bars, live entertainment areas and a 5,000-seat outdoor concert space.
Unveiled at a VIP reception with Indiana Gaming Commission agents scrutinizing all operations before issuing formal authorization to open, Indiana Live drew three basic reactions, says General Manager Mark Hemmerle: ??Wow,? ?You truly brought a little Vegas to Indiana,? or ?We are definitely coming back to this place.??
Some seven months? operation of the temporary slots and five more with the permanent operation will bring the Indiana government $112 million in gaming taxes, Cordish gaming operations officials estimate. Almost $70 million goes to the state Property Tax Reduction Trust Fund, $6.7 million to Shelby County and other local governments, $2 million to a state problem-gambling fund, and $33 million to state horsemen and racing purses.
Indiana Downs will have the full legal complement of 2,000 slots in the permanent Indiana Live casino. Hoosier Park?s casino opened with nearly all 2,000 machines running in the fully completed 92,000 square feet. Initial state licenses for the slots cost each operator $250 million.