Hoosier Park to Seek Permanent Slots Approval

Hoosier Park officials decided Wednesday to forgo a temporary slots facility and build a 92,696-square-foot casino with permanent slots at the Anderson, Ind., racetrack.

Hoosier Park officials have decided to forgo a temporary slots facility and build a 92,696-square-foot casino with permanent slots at the Anderson, Ind., racetrack.

The Anderson Parks Department endorsed the project Aug. 7. It requires Indiana Gaming Commission and Indiana Horse Racing Commission approval.

The facility is to be constructed north of the existing grandstand and clubhouse. The two buildings are to be connected via walkways and escalators. Eight hundred more parking spaces at the track are planned, which would raise the total to 2,000.

The site plan was drafted by Indianapolis-based Beam, Longest & Neff,  LLC. It calls for updates to the existing facility, which opened in September, 1994. According to a Hoosier Park statement, food and beverage service will remain in the existing facility. No changes are planned for the racing surface or barn area.

"This facility is going to receive significant upgrades," Centaur Racing CEO Jeff Smith told the park board. "I think it's going to be phenomenal; it's going to be spectacular. It's something all of you as a community can be proud of."

Earlier this year, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation allowing as many as 2,000 slot machines at Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs in Shelbyville. Each track must pay a $250-million licensing fee to operate slots. A $150-million payment is due Nov. 1, with the remaining $100 million payable a year later.  As part of the legislation, operators may use a temporary facility for two years while developing a permanent structure.

Hoosier Park officials will next seek approval for the casino project from the IGC and IHRC.  After full approval -- which Smith said could come by late summer or early fall -- a project timetable will be set.

"This process is all new to us," Hoosier Park President Rick Moore told the Anderson Herald-Bulletin. "We can't predict how another board may act, so it's difficult to say when we might get started. As things go along, I think the timeline will become clearer."

In June, Hoosier Park received IHRC approval to purchase an adjoining  19-acre parcel.  According to documents filed with the IHRC, Centaur paid $1 million for the land, which could be used for additional parking or barn expansion.—James Platz