Caesars threatens to drop new Indiana casino plans over $50-million license fee

To pay or not to pay, that is the question.  Las Vegas' Caesars Entertainment says no, but the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) says yes.  The IGC wants the casino giant to pay $50 million for licenses after it acquired two horse track casinos in the state.  Now, Caesars is threatening to back out on its plans to build a $90-million casino in southern Indiana.

Last November, Caesars agreed to purchase the Indiana Grand Casino near Shelbyville and the Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson from Centaur Inc. for $1.7 billion.  It now argues that the casino licenses that were already held by the two casinos shouldn't have to be re-purchased by the company.  Its plans to build an on-land casino to replace its reiverboat at the Horseshoe Sotuhern Indiana casino near Louisville, Kentucky have been put on hold pending the outcome of arbitration.

The purchase of the two casinos hasn't been finalized yet, and the IGC will be reviewing the terms of the acquisition when it meets in May or June.  At that time, the commission will also determine whether or not the license fee will be waived. 

Caesars already owns two Indiana casinos, Horseshoe Southern Indiana and Horseshoe Hammond Casino on Lake Michigan.  Although state law prohibits a company from owning more than two casinos, the racetrack casinos are exempt.  If the acquisition deal is approved by the IGC, Caesars will own four of the top five casinos in the state.  

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