On Thursday, The Port Authority Board and Hammond’s Redevelopment Commission met to discuss the proposed expansion. Both groups unanimously approved the deal, leaving only the Redevelopment Authority as the final step before the city allows the expansion to occur. It will vote Monday.
Once the city approves, the board of directors for Harrah’s Entertainment will vote, as early as next week, Mazer said. If all goes well, Hammond residents could be walking into a new casino in two years. „This is an important deal for the city and for the future of Hammond,“ Mayor Thomas McDermott said. „What we did today for Hammond will affect the city for generations.“
The deal could have a downside. In order to create the expansion, which will be situated on the lakefront adjoining the Horseshoe Casino, the city will temporarily close the marina.
McDermott said if the casino is approved next week, the marina will close for the 2007 boating season. In exchange, the casino has agreed to give the city the us$ 3.5 million it would have received in step rentals for the season.
Since the new casino would be developed on land occupied by the Hammond Yacht Club, the casino plans to buy the Yacht Club Building for close to us$ 3 million. Horseshoe also will give Hammond an advance of us$ 15 million once the agreement is approved. Horseshoe employs about 2,150 at its Hammond casino, which boasts the highest limits and highest odds in Indiana. Patrons may bet up to us$ 100,000 per baccarat game.
The Horseshoe expansion would follow the Northwest Indiana trend of megacasinos. Michigan City’s Blue Chip Casino opened doors last month to an expanded, Las Vegas-style casino. Late last year, Don Barden of Majestic Star Casino bought Donald Trump’s neighboring casino. Two months after his acquisition, he announced plans to build an entertainment center, a convention space and another hotel anchored on Buffington Harbor.