Hoosier Park

A horse and driver head out of the paddock area before the running of the 2019 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Horse Racing Commission has approved the transfer of the horse racing licenses for Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Indiana Grand to Eldorado Resorts.

The unanimous approval Monday came with 22 conditions for Eldorado to operate the horse racing programs at Hoosier Park in Anderson and Indiana Grand in Shelbyville.

The conditions relate to growth of the horse racing industry in Indiana, including 12% of adjusted gross gaming receipts to be given to horsemen yearly, an additional $1 million for three years “to cover the time frame of future expansion projects needed for full implementation of table games” and the establishment of a racing capital escrow fund with $25 million to be spent over 10 years.

Tom Reeg, CEO of Eldorado Resorts, said Eldorado plans to spend $60 million on upgrades to the two facilities.

Representatives from the three horse owner associations in Indiana spoke favorably Monday of the transfer of the licenses from Caesars Entertainment to Eldorado.

All three representatives emphasized the importance of both pari-mutuel tracks in Indiana remaining under one ownership in the future.

Reeg said no casino gaming would take place in Indiana without the horse racing industry.

“Centaur set a high bar,” he said of the former owner of the two Indiana racinos. “The facilities are as good as any in the country. We’re ready and willing to accept all the conditions. We expect you to hold our feet to the fire.”

Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson, said she applauds the 22 conditions that the staff of the horse racing commission included in the approval of the transfer of the license.

“This facility has a huge impact in Anderson,” she said of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. “It draws a large variety of people and personalities to Anderson that might not (otherwise) visit the community.”

Austin said the fact that Hoosier Park is located in Anderson is used in promotional material to draw investment in the city.

“I was reluctant and fearful in the beginning of what it might mean for my community,” she said of the Caesars-Eldorado merger. “This is in the best interest for Anderson and Hoosier Park.”

Rep. Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield, said the transfer proposal is a good one and in the hands of the horse racing commission, which approved Eldorado’s $17.3 billion takeover of Caesars.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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