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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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