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Casino move to Steuben County dies in committee

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January 28, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS - A bill to consolidate the two Gary Majestic Star casinos into one operation and transfer the second casino license to Steuben County died in committee Thursday.

The owner of the two Majestic Stars in Gary, Don Barden, wants to consolidate them into a one larger casino and use one of the licenses to open a new casino in the northeastern corner of Indiana.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert Meeks, R-LaGrange, whose district includes Steuben County, filed the bill to change the licenses. On Thursday the bill was brought before Meek's committee. Mr. Barden told the committee he would invest $150 to consolidate and expand the Majestic Stars and testified he had told Gary officials they would receive the same amount of development money and other revenues when the new casino replaced the two smaller ones.

After the testimony the bill was amended to allow residents in Fort Wayne and Steuben County to vote on whether they want a casino in their areas. However, the bill died when no one would second the motion to vote on the measure.

The issue is considered dead for this session of the legislature.

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