Mayor Thomas M. McDermott Jr.

Hammond Announces Interest in Gary Gaming License

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Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. announced his support for the relocation of a casino license that is currently held by the Majestic Star Casino in the City of Gary to a location in the City of Hammond. “Today a legislative study committee recommended relocating the two licenses held by Majestic Star in Buffington Harbor. We want the legislature to relocate one of Majestic Star’s licenses to Hammond,” said Mayor McDermott.

With the State’s largest grossing casino located in Hammond at the border with Chicago, Hammond has been a success story in the gaming industry. “Month after month and year after year, Hammond’s Horseshoe Casino leads the way in gaming revenue and taxes generated for the State of Indiana. There isn’t any reason the city can’t continue to make even more money for the state by taking advantage of its border with Illinois,” said the mayor.

The City Council is currently considering a resolution that would indicate the City’s desire to have one of the licenses currently held by the Majestic Star be relocated by the State to Hammond, Lake County’s largest city. “In 1994 part of the rationale was two licenses in Gary because it was the largest city in Lake County. Now we are, and we have a track record of success in gaming,” said Dave Woerpel, Hammond’s 5th District Councilman and sponsor of the resolution.

In 1994, the Indiana Gaming Commission issued two gaming licenses for casinos to be located in the City of Gary. Two years later, two “riverboats” opened in Buffington Harbor, Trump Casino and Majestic Star. The law was later expanded to allow for ten “Riverboat” Casinos, including the successful Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, the successor to the Empress Casino that opened in 1998. In 2015, the Indiana General Assembly allowed for further gaming expansion and permitted land based casinos to be located in the State of Indiana.

Due to a transfer of ownership from Trump casino, Majestic Star now holds both gaming licenses, one of which cannot be transferred or sold without a change in Indiana law. The City of Hammond supports the transfer of a single license from Buffington Harbor to a land-based location. “If the State wants to move the licenses to land-based locations, I’m fine with that, I support that as it hopefully will help Gary pursue other economic development opportunities. I just want to make sure that one of the licenses comes to Hammond where it belongs and where revenue can be increased for the city, county, and state. With sports book gaming around the corner and all the competitive advantages we have in Hammond, it is a no-brainer to put another casino in Hammond. As a state we have a tremendous opportunity here” said Mayor McDermott.

The Hammond Common Council will consider the resolution at its next meeting scheduled for Monday, November 5, 2018.