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Belterra Casino Reaches Agreement with Three Counties in South Indiana

On February 23, 2007, 3 south Indiana counties, Crawford, Ripley and Jefferson reached a new profit-sharing agreement with Belterra Casino, ultimately ending a feud between the parties, which even resulted in the counties threatening to file a case before the courts and the Indiana Gaming Commission.

The new agreement will allow the 3 counties to share an additional $3.5 million over the span of 7 years if the Belterra Casino remains viable. Julie Berry, the Jefferson County Commissioner commented that the agreement favors both sides. In addition, under the new agreement, the profit sharing between the 3 counties and Belterra will go back to about 0.257% of all the gross profits of the casino, which was used back in 2003 to calculate payment to the counties.

These counties are near the gambling casino or in part of Crawford County, which competed with the Belterra Casino for a state license. Under the previous agreement between Belterra and the 3 counties, the casino has to pay a percentage to the counties from their gross receipts, which is a total of about $1.8 million since the year 2002. However, the money paid out to the counties has gone down to about $585,000 back in 2002 to just about $275,000, according to the gaming records by the commission.

The agreement between the parties included a "share the pain" clause, which will endow the Belterra Casino with the option to cut back on the money paid to the counties if Belterra will be given additional taxes. Belterra and the other casino gaming facilities in Indiana back in 2002 were given higher taxes in exchange for a go signal to conduct 24-hour gambling services in the state's docksides instead of sailing to offer gambling.

The new agreement will state that the payment to the 3 counties will not exceed $1 million annually. If the earnings of the Belterra Casino slide below the $160 million mark annually, the payment for the following year will be calculated in about 0.17% of the casino's earnings.

Profit sharing could be calculated at a 0.257% if the gross profits the following year will exceed the $160 million, according to the legal representatives of the parties. A bill currently in the General Assembly aims to force the casino to pay more to the counties, according to Rep. Dennie Oxley.


19 March 2007
News Submitted by:
Lauren Desmond

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