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3/2/2019 7:23:00 PM
Schererville Republican family rolls dice to win Gary's casinos

Bill Dolan, Times of Northwest Indiana

GARY — The family of an influential Schererville Republican is joining a group of downstate investors hoping to set a new course for this city's Majestic Star casinos.

Dan Dumezich, a former state representative, his mother and other family members are among the shareholders and participants of Spectacle Entertainment, the newly formed company preparing to buy the Majestic Star boats, now anchored in Lake Michigan's Buffington Harbor.

The Indiana Gaming Commission on Friday released the names of 16 companies, individuals and trusts behind the ownership transfer bid. The commission could vote on it as early as its next meeting March 8 in Indianapolis.

The transfer is taking place in tandem with deliberations in the General Assembly to transform one Majestic Star boat into a land-based casino, likely adjacent to the Borman Expressway, and permit the second Gary boat's gaming license to be used to open a new casino in Terre Haute.

Gary has had its two floating casinos since Donald Trump and Donald Barden launched them more than 20 years ago after Indiana legalized gambling.

Dumezich, an attorney, who served in the Indiana House as a local state representative from 1999 to 2002, confirmed his mother, Margaret Dumezich, and Laelaps LLC, a Dumezich family partnership, are among those potential shareholders.

Dumezich confirmed the connection Friday, but said he would decline further comment until the ownership transfer and legislation are resolved later this spring.

Trusts in the name of the family members of Hoosier basketball great Larry Bird are also part of the bid.

Bird, born in West Baden Springs, Indiana, about 100 miles south of Terre Haute, played college basketball for Indiana State University, helping the school get to the 1979 NCAA championship game. He played professional basketball for the Boston Celtics, helping the professional basketball team from 1979 to 1992.

Other Spectacle shareholders and participants include:Dan Hasler, a former Indiana commerce secretary

  • Steve Hilbert, an Indianapolis-area businessman
  • The Brown Family Trust
  • End Game Holdings LLC of Lafayette, Indiana
  • Hoosier Jackpot Enterprises LLC of Terre Haute
  • John Keeler, legal counsel for Spectacle
  • One Eyed Jack Ventures LLC of Terre Haute
  • The Roderick J. Ratcliff Trust
  • Tammy Shaeffer
  • Spectacle Management Incentive Plan
  • Summit Partners Credit Advisors LP of Boston
  • Windy City H&C of Carmel, Indiana

The ownership transfer proposal first became public late last year with an announcement by Ratcliff, former chairman and CEO of Centaur Gaming, and Greg Gibson, a Terre Haute businessman.

Hoosier Jackpot and One Eyed Jack are companies associated with Gibson. Tammy Shaeffer is chief financial officer for Centaur, which operated Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson and Indiana Grand Racing and Casino in Shelbyville before they were purchased by Caesars Entertainment.

Gary officials long have argued a land-based Gary casino would be more profitable than the struggling locations on Gary's lakefront. It could free up Buffington Harbor to be developed into an intermodal water, rail, highway and air cargo hub.

Related Stories:
• Indiana Gaming Commission approves Spectacle's acquisition of Gary casinos
• Hammond official: Legislature casino bill could 'destabilize' NWI gaming industry
• Vanderburgh-based Lt. Gov. not a player in casino debate

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR


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