The Indiana Gaming Commission has reportedly moved to permanently revoke the Indiana casino license held by local entrepreneur Rod Ratcliff (pictured) over allegations that he failed to disclose the transfer of business funds into a personal wagering account.
According to a Wednesday report from The Indianapolis Star newspaper, Ratcliffe partnered with former Centaur Holdings executive John Keeler in 2018 to lead a group that established Spectacle Entertainment so as to buy Indiana’s floating Majestic Star Casino Hotel and Majestic Star Casino Hotel II venues. This entity purportedly later successfully lobbied for the right to relocate one of these Gary riverboat casinos to a fresh and more profitable land-based site located along nearby Interstate 94.
The newspaper reported that this new $300 million venue is set to debut later this year as the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana featuring a collection of about 1,650 slots alongside some 80 gaming tables. However, any opening ceremonies are purportedly not likely to feature Ratcliff as he was forced to resign as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Spectacle Entertainment in June as scrutiny concerning his past behavior increased.
The Indianapolis Star reported that the Indiana casino magnate first came under the spotlight when federal law enforcement authorities and the Indiana Gaming Commission launched investigations into whether Keeler had helped to illegally funnel campaign contributions into a state lawmaker’s unsuccessful congressional run. Although Ratcliff was not named in the subsequent indictment, he did purportedly have his license temporarily suspended in December before being compelled to sell his stake in the coming 200,000 sq ft Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana.
Ratcliff reportedly responded by suing the Indiana Gaming Commission over claims that the interim suspension had come with ‘no notice, no hearing and no process’ and had additionally denied him the ‘ability to sell his shares on his own terms’ to the operator of the coming Lake County casino, Hard Rock International.
However, the Indiana Gaming Commission reportedly countered on Monday by lodging a Lake County Superior Court petition that is seeking the permanent revocation of Ratcliff’s casino license. The regulator’s application purportedly contends that the entrepreneur had transferred approximately $900,000 from his casino business to personal betting accounts between 2015 and 2019 and had subsequently failed to disclose this information at the time of applying for his license.
The newspaper reported that the request from the Indiana Gaming Commission alleges that Ratcliff had violated its licensing standards in 2018 by ‘submitting false information’ while simultaneously ‘hiding conduct that violates Indiana gaming rules and regulations’. The regulator purportedly moreover claimed that the businessman had later refused ‘on two separate occasions’ to meet with its investigators so as to answer questions regarding any allegations of unethical business practices.
The Indianapolis Star reported that this petition is to ultimately be reviewed by the Indiana Office of Administrative Law Proceedings, which is a state office charged with ruling on agency disputes. In the meantime and Ratcliff purportedly asserted that he ‘looks forward to his day in court’ so that he may ‘contest these baseless allegations.’