A deal to save Spectacle
Indiana gambling industry executive Rod Ratcliff is giving up his ownership stake in gaming company Spectacle Entertainment. He is also set to permanently forfeit his casino license in the state after reaching a settlement agreement with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) on Tuesday.
he wasn’t a good fit for a state gaming license
Following a lengthy – and still ongoing – investigation into whether the former Spectacle CEO and chair used his position to influence political moves, the IGC had determined that he wasn’t a good fit for a state gaming license. It has now gone a step further.
According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, citing details released by the commission, Ratcliff is now being forced to sell his entire Spectacle ownership. The official release of the settlement agreement specifies that he will not “challenge or appeal” the IGC’s order.
The good news is that, in doing so, Ratcliff is allowing the casino resort project Spectacle has been working on with Hard Rock International (HRI) to move forward.
Allegations of political contributions
Ratcliff came under fire at the beginning of last year after it was revealed that his former company, Centaur Gaming, had potentially used its position and status to help sway political campaigns in Indiana.
A federal probe into whether the casino operator had made illegal campaign contributions is still ongoing, and Ratcliff’s ties to the company didn’t sit well with gaming regulators. The IGC began to dig deeper into his past and discovered that he may have broken a number of violations, leading to the commission’s filing in February to strip him of his operator license.
Hard Rock Northern Indiana back on track
Spectacle and HRI began to build a $300-million casino resort in Gary, Indiana at the beginning of 2020, just prior to the revelation that Ratcliff and others had been involved in illegal political campaign activity.
The news brought the project to a halt, but it will now be able to resume following the agreement reached between the gambling industry heavyweight and the IGC. Construction of the Spectacle-owned Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana will pick up where it left off, but with no influence on the part of Ratcliff.
Ratcliff’s stake will go to his Spectacle business partner, Greg Gibson, as well as to HRI. However, no information was provided on how much of a stake he controlled, or what the split will be. Ratcliff has continued to deny any wrongdoing, despite evidence to the contrary, and has agreed to not challenge the IGC’s decisions moving forward.
what he wanted from the very beginning of this ordeal – to retire from Indiana gaming on his own terms”
A spokesperson for the commission, Robert Vane, said the settlement agreement gives Ratcliff “what he wanted from the very beginning of this ordeal – to retire from Indiana gaming on his own terms.” In a statement, he acknowledged Ratcliff’s contribution to the state, citing the “thousands of jobs for Hoosiers, millions of dollars of economic activity, and significant charitable investment in local communities.”