Who Wants to Run Orange County Casino

Published September 20, 2003 by OCR Editor

Who Wants to Run Orange County Casino

Five companies are bidding to open a casino in West Baden Springs and French Lick, with Donald Trump, Larry Bird and a former Indiana State Police officer topping the list of applicants.

Today was the deadline for applications to operate the casino, which was authorized by the legislature in April after residents of the two towns lobbied for a decade to allow such a site in their economically depressed community.

Craig Adolph, a former State Police sergeant from Auburn, is among the principal investors of Tranchant Indiana LLC, one of the groups who applied to operate the venue. Adolph has been involved in bringing the independent movie company Mike the Pike Films to Orange County, where the company plans to begin shooting a feature film by the end of this year.

Bird is a member of a group of investors that submitted an application today under the name Orange County Development LLC. Bird, who grew up in French Lick and still owns a house there, has said he'll donate his share of the gambling profits to charities in Orange County.

Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts submitted its application last week. It would be the company's sixth casino. Other applicants for the Orange County permit are the Bally's company of Las Vegas and Jacobs Entertainment of Black Hawk, Colorado.

Bally's operates casinos in Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, Louisiana, Ontario, Nova Scotia, South Africa, Uruguay and Australia. Jacobs operates the Lodge and the Gilpin Hotel in Black Hawk, The Gold Dust West in Reno, Nevada, seven truck plaza video-gaming facilities in Louisiana, and a race track and four pari-mutuel betting sites in Virginia.

The only hurdle left to open the place is a November 4 referendum, in which a majority of voters must favor legalized gambling in Orange County. The vote has pitted those who lobbied against a group of anti-gambling activists, who say a casino in their town would cause a rise in crime and bankruptcies.

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