7 Shareholders at Gary Casino Move to Court to Stop the New State Integrity Rules

Gary Shareholders

Seven of eighteen Spectacle shareholders want the Indiana Gaming Commission’s new rules halted. The new rules need the shareholders to disclose their financial information and other business interests. The individuals behind Hard Rock Casinos in northern Indiana filed the petition on Friday.

The shareholders believe that they will suffer irreversible harm without a temporary restraining order against the new rules. The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) has directed the shareholders to submit paperwork and any document needed to get a high-level casino occupational license before May 7, 2021.

Yet, Marion Superior Judge John Chavis did not respond to the petition. According to a docket entry, the judge is waiting for the IGC to react to the Spectacle shareholders’ petition this week before he could act on it. Spectacle Entertainment shareholders claim that even if they were to apply for a casino license under the new rules, they wouldn’t get it as IGC will reject it.

What’s in the Court Document?

The submitted court document explains that IGC’s real goal is to harass, annoy and cause large economic loss to any business the gambling regulator does not favor. Also included in the submitted document is a copy of a letter outlining an offer by Spectacle Entertainment on how they will redeem their Class A and Class B shares at a redacted price, which, according to them, is unreasonably low.

The proposed offer signed by the group’s president and CEO Johnae Erpenbach claims that the new rules by IGC encourage Spectacle investors who fail to accept or are unwilling to be licensed should sell their shares back to the company. Yet, the sale will be for a lesser amount than what is fair or even the market value or original sale amount. According to Erpenbach, IGC has concerns about licensing a brand associated with a shareholder in association with Centaur Gaming or formerly disassociated executive of Spectacle.

This means the disassociated Spectacle executive CEO Rod Ratcliff that led Centaur and owned Indiana horse tracks casinos cannot be licensed. The CEO agreed to exit the Indiana gaming industry in exchange for the IGC not to pursue legal action against him. Yet, his exit did not stop the IGC from continuing investigating Spectacle.
The IGC claims that Ratcliff did not have the authority to offer unauthorized executive employment. Ratcliff also continued to control Spectacle’s finances even after his exit.

He also refused to cooperate or disclose information that could help in an ongoing investigating. For example, the former Spectacle CEO did not report $900,000 deposited in his horse wagering account from 2015 to 2019 or the wins or losses he recorded.

What’s in the New State Integrity Rules

After Ratcliff’s exit from the Indiana gambling industry, the IGC came up with several integrity rules. The commission insists that these rules will improve the public’s trust in the gambling industry and promote integrity in Indiana.

Executive Director Sara Tait said that the commission hopes that acquiring information from shareholders or anyone associated with a privately owned casino will help restore integrity in the gambling sector.

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