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Proposed Gary casino move springs up again

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April 16, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS State lawmakers are quietly discussing the possibility of moving one of Gary's two lakefront casinos to the southern edge of the city.

Mayor Rudy Clay was in Indianapolis Thursday for a closed-door meeting with Ernest Yelton, executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission, and state Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary.

Rogers said afterwards, "I think we've got a pretty good chance of getting one of those licenses moved to Interstate 80-94."

The proposed deal is to allow Majestic Star Casino owner Don Barden to replace one of his Buffington Harbor riverboats with a land-based casino near Indiana University Northwest in exchange for a share of the new profits, which would be used for construction of a nearby teaching hospital with the IU regional medical school.

"I don't have all the information, so right now I'm not in favor of moving a license, and I'm not in favor of keeping it where it is," Mayor Clay said. "But I do like hooking up a land-based casino with a four-year medical school at Indiana University (Northwest). I think that's a good idea."

Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary agrees with Rogers and is optimistic a plan could happen before the General Assembly adjourns April 29th. However, Rogers thinks more legislative groundwork is needed before one of the Gary licenses is moved.

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