Caesars Southern Indiana Sale Challenged
In December, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) agreed to purchase the Caesars Southern Indiana property for $250 million.
There was plenty of debate that took place before the agreement was made, and it appears that new opposition has emerged.
A group of EBCI tribal members has now filed a petition to overturn the decision to purchase the property. Two current Tribal Council members and one former Chief have all signed off on the petition.
Fourteen members have signed this petition, and they question the decision to spend $250 million to purchase a new casino. This money includes nearly $120 million from tribal endowments, which will set the tribe back.
Another part of this petition claims that the special session required to vote on this issue did not meet the requirements for an emergency meeting. The EBCI had to quickly make a decision as Caesars was forced to sell the property by December 31.
The petition also establishes an argument against the limited liability company (LLC) that will be established with this purchase. According to the petition, this goes against the charter of the EBCI and should make the transaction void.
At this time of publication, it is unclear what impact this petition will have on the eventual sale of the property. The sale is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. Caesars must go through with this sale to meet the requirements placed on them by the Indiana Gaming Commission.
Chief Richard Sneed is the man in charge of this purchase for the EBCI. He has also expanded the gambling platform for his tribe throughout the U.S. Indiana could prove to be a huge revenue generator for the tribe, especially with the growing Indiana sports betting industry in the state.
EBCI Facing Potential Loss
The EBCI was aware of a potential revenue loss when it agreed to make this purchase, but not all of the tribal members understood what was happening. The Indiana Gaming Law places a cap on how much revenue will be shared, and that’s much different from tribal gaming compacts.
EBCI Holdings LLC was established as a part of this deal, and that will be the privately owned company that runs this property. According to Indiana law, only 25 percent of the revenue will be shared with the tribe.
At other gaming locations on tribal land, the EBCI has full control over the generated revenue. This revenue is used to fund the government, and it is an integral part of the EBCI budget.
Members of this petition question the decision made by the tribal council to take on a significant loss during the ongoing pandemic, as it could take years before this pays off. Chief Sneed has acknowledged that the tribe will likely need to operate at least two more casinos under the new LLC to make a profit.
The Seminole Tribe in Florida took on a similar risk when it purchased Hard Rock properties, but that gamble has paid off.
For more sports news and legal sports betting in Indiana, check out more stories on our blog.
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