All Ashore?

Indiana and gaming have a now 20-year-old relationship that continues to evolve. The question (long ago) was not whether there should be gaming but what form it would take. Among the latest issues is the potential transition away from riverboats in at least several instances.

The Evansville Courier-Press reports that the Casino Aztar, among other casinos, may be seeking dryer quarters as state legislators tackle the issue of gaming boats in Indiana. The paper reports:

With Indiana officials considering allowing land-based casinos, officials with Evansville’s Casino Aztar are looking at moving their business ashore.

Tom Dingman, an “attorney-in-fact” managing Aztar, said he and others have begun working on a master plan that considers moving the casino off its Ohio River riverboat and placing it inside a building. Doing so would eliminate many costs associated with running and maintaining a boat and allow Aztar to be closer to nearby restaurants, hotels and other attractions, he said.

Perhaps, most important, it would make the casino a stronger competitor against Kentucky horse tracks should they ever be allowed to have slot machines.

“It’s well known that customers have a perception of boats as second-class when they are compared to land-based casinos,” Dingman said.

Dingman said the plans don’t contain a great amount of detail. He was unsure where Casino Aztar would be if it were moved to land.

Aztar is one of 10 casinos in Indiana that state law requires to be on the water. Recently, two of them — Majestic Star I and II in Gary — have sought permission to move ashore.