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Full House Resorts Loses Out On Indianapolis Casino Bid

Posted On February 17, 2016

By Mike Perleberg

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A proposal for a new sports and mixed use campus (pictured) at property near the Indianapolis airport beat out a casino project bid from Full House Resorts. Photo via Indianapolis Airport Authority.

(Rising Sun, Ind.) – The company which owns Rising Star Casino will have to look elsewhere if it wants to establish a casino in Indianapolis.

Last August, Full House Resorts CEO Dan Lee pitched a plan to build a $650 million, privately funded lifestyle center and casino on 135 acres of unused property put up for sale by the Indianapolis Airport Authority. The proposed American Place development included the casino, a small hotel, condominiums, theater, cinema, event center, and retail. Las Vegas-based Full House said it would create 4,000 jobs and attract up to 15 million visitors each year.

“Given the adjacency of the airport, we expect the center to attract people from throughout the country to an experience that is part Indianapolis, part Las Vegas, and 100 percent unique,” Lee said then.

But hopes for American Place appear to have been dashed for now. The airport authority announced Tuesday that it has accepted two bids that will see 428 acres of land. Four bids in total, including Full House Resorts’ plan, were submitted.

The first bid by Athletes Business Network proposes to develop and build a sports and mixed-use campus in the parking area of the old airport terminal on nearly 130 acres of land. It would feature a sports-centered medical complex that includes up to five office buildings, a 20,000 seat stadium, and a hotel.

“The ABN project could potentially impact thousands of lives, have national and international visibility and serve our local community by creating jobs and stimulating even more development around the old airport terminal” said airport authority executive director Mario Rodriguez.

ABN’s sports medical complex would employ about 3,000 workers.

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A concept drawing of American Place, a casino and lifestyle center project proposed by Rising Star Casino owner Full House Resorts. Photo provided.

A second bid accepted comes from Holladay Properties. The firm presented a master plan to attract economic development projects on 300 to 400 acres, some of which could include entertainments and light industrial.

As it was presented last year, Full House Resorts’ American Place idea sought to relocate to Indy half of the slot and table games from Rising Star Casino Resort in Rising Sun. Lee said the Indianapolis proposal would benefit the City of Rising Sun by keeping Rising Star a viable operation.

Indiana lawmakers would have had to approve a change in state law to permit the casino portion of American Place.

Lee could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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