Indiana Gaming Commission Wants Rod Ratcliff’s License Taken Away for Good

Article by : Helen Feb 15, 2021

Suspending former Spectacle Entertainment’s CEO license back in December last year for 90 days wasn’t enough for the Indiana Gambling Commission. In the most recent development in the state’s ongoing campaign financing violation, the regulator has filed a petition to take away Rod Ratcliff’s occupational gambling license for good at the Lake County Superior Court.

According to the regulator’s point of view, Ratcliff isn’t worthy of the license anymore, citing the lack of “the high standards of character and reputation required of a licensee” as the main reason behind the motion. As it was put in the request, “Any one of these matters, individually, should lead to revocation of his license. When combined with what the commission knows so far, there should be no credible question that respondent is not fit to hold a gaming license in Indiana.”

The petition also shed light on Ratcliff transferring $900,000 from the casino funds to his personal horserace betting accounts from 2015 to 2019 without disclosing this information with the regulator while applying for a license in 2018.

Apart from suspending Ratcliff’s license, the Indiana Gaming Commission also voted in favor of forcing him to give up his share in a Lake Michigan casino, the Majestic Star Casino, in December 2020. According to the Commission, Ratcliff continued to influence the executive leadership’s decisions despite the state’s orders. Ratcliff countered this decision with a lawsuit against the regulator filed on January 19.

By operating outside of its legal scope and unfairly judging Mr. Ratcliff as guilty by association, the Indiana Gaming Commission has created a problem where none existed and delayed what will be a significant contributor to the Lake County economy.

Rod Ratcliff’s spokesperson commenting on the matter

Rod Ratcliff is currently under federal investigation for an alleged violation of the federal campaign financing laws that was brought to light in January last year. His business partner (and former vice president of Spectacle Entertainment), John Keeler, has already been indicted by the federal investigators for his suspected part in the conspiracy to funnel illegal corporate contributions to the unsuccessful 2016 reelection campaign of a former Republican Senator Brent Waltz.

Back in 2015, both Keeler and Ratcliff were a part of Centaur Gaming, a casino and horse race operator that was later sold to Caesars Entertainment in 2018. As the U.S. Attorney’s Office claimed during the investigation, Keeler partnered up with Kelley Rogers, a political consultant from Maryland, to funnel Centaur Gaming’s funds to Waltz’s campaign via Rogers’ personal bank account. The scheme was allegedly set up by an unknown Centaur executive who met with Rogers at the Indianapolis airport.

According to the Indiana Gaming Commission claims, Ratcliff was that unnamed executive. Keeler and Ratcliff were forced to give up their positions at Spectacle Entertainment in June 2020 by the state regulator because of their alleged part in the scandal. Ratcliff hasn’t been charged yet, and he denies taking part in the scheme.

The whole scandal came at a bad time for Spectacle Entertainment as the company, in partnership with Hard Rock International, is developing the $300 million Hard Rock Casino in Gary, Indiana, at the interstate 80/94, at the time. Although the site’s development is almost complete, the most recent Commission’s petition has already prompted the two companies to postpone the casino’s opening to mid-April 2021.

However, despite the ongoing debacle, Hard Rock “remains committed to the successful completion of the Hard Rock Northern Indiana project,” according to the company CEO, Jon Lucas.

Helen

Chief Editor

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