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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Land Ho

River City residents will no longer be able to take their luck to the boat as Tropicana Evansville’s new land-based casino aims to change the gambling game in Indiana.

Set to officially open Oct. 20, the new $50-million facility will be the first land-based gambling facility in Indiana after legislation passed in 2015 to allow casinos on land — Indiana was one of the last states to pass such legislation. Tropicana Evansville was involved from the beginning to prepare and move the law forward, even hiring a lobbyist to work with elected officials locally and in the statehouse.

“We started working on discussions for the land-based casino well ahead of the 2015 session, probably even back through 2012,” says Stacey McNeill, Tropicana Evansville’s executive director of marketing.

The new facility hopes to expand the entertainment experience in Evansville and appeal to a broader audience — one interested in more than just gambling.

“A riverboat is a gambling destination. The only reason people go on the boat is to gamble,” says General Manager John Chaszar. “The significant difference is it goes from being a gambling establishment to being an entertainment establishment.”

Since its beginning in 1996 as Casino Aztar, the casino has undergone many transformations, beginning with the purchase of ownership by Tropicana Entertainment in 2010, rebranding in 2013, and now the opening of a land-based casino.

In the Evansville Business August/September 2013 cover story, “Name of the Game,” McNeill shared Tropicana’s goal of increasing customer growth in southwest Kentucky and Tennessee. Since then, she says they’ve seen continued growth from all of their MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Area), but especially Kentucky and Tennessee, a trend she thinks will continue with the new facility.

“If you stop growing, you essentially stop being successful,” says McNeill. “When you look at entertainment, and not just the casino industry, there always is a need and constant demand for change.”

For more information about Tropicana Evansville, call 812-433-4000 or visit tropevansville.com.

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