For sale? Aztar dealt bad hand

Reporter: Drew Speier
New Media Producer: Rachel Beavin

Casino Aztar's parent company, Columbia Sussex was denied a renewal of their Tropicana license in New Jersey.

That means the Indiana Gaming commission, by law, has to take away Casino Aztar's license.

The last thing the city wants is for the casino to lose its gaming license. Mayor Weinzapfel says, "This is a very valuable license, think about how large the regional area Evansville serves, almost a three quarters of a million people, the facility was very attractive for Aztar. When properly run it's a tremendous money maker for the owners."

The mayor has had issues with how the new owners, Columbia Sussex has been running Casino Aztar. More than 70 people were laid off, many more than promised. Mayor Weinzapfel called for an investigation.

Weinzapfel says he wasn't surprised the that New Jersey Gaming Commission denied Columbia's license renewal.

Mayor Weinzapfel says, "Having lost their license in New Jersey, under state law once it's revoked in another jurisdiction, it's revoked here in Indiana. So they are in pretty dire straits here in the state of Indiana."

That could mean no more gaming at Casino Aztar unless Columbia Sussex, who appealed Thursday's ruling, sells to another company. Sources say there have already been at least two potential buyers.

So in the long run, the ruling could actually benefit the city because they would have a more attractive owner and businesses could continue as usual.

The Indiana Gaming Commission will address the licensing issue at their next meeting in March. It's possible by then Casino Aztar may be owned by another company, which would allow Casino Aztar to maintain its license.

We will continue to follow this story and provide you updates, both on-air and online!