Land Ho: Indiana’s Tropicana Evansville Riverboat Casino Moving Ashore

Written By Martin Derbyshire on September 14, 2017 - Last Updated on November 26, 2021
Origami ship on sand

Tropicana Evansville announced last week it is officially opening its new land-based casino on Oct. 20, 2017.

The first-ever riverboat casino in Indiana will cease operations on Oct. 16, 2017. In fact, staff will immediately start moving equipment over to the state’s first land-based casino property on that date. Tropicana Evansville expects to open its new $50 million casino at 10 a.m. local time on Oct. 20.

Owner and operator Tropicana Entertainment Inc. first announced plans to replace Tropicana Evansville’s riverboat casino with a $50 million, 75,000-square foot single-level casino and entertainment facility in November 2015. The new casino is located on land between Tropicana’s existing hotels, Tropicana Evansville Hotel and the LeMerigot Hotel.

New state laws allow riverboats to go ashore

Then-Indiana Governor Mike Pence and state legislators passed a law earlier in 2015 allowing Indiana’s 10 riverboat casinos to move onto dry land. Construction on the new casino began in the first quarter of 2016. However, finished well within the expected 18 to 24-month plan.

Tropicana Evansville’s 2,700-passenger riverboat casino first opened to the public in 1995 as Casino Aztar. It was the state’s first casino. The 310-foot riverboat, named the City of Evansville, is a replica of the historic Robert E. Lee racing sidewheel steamboat. The company eventually sold the boat.

The riverboat will be removed, and an historic LST 325 World War II vessel is moving to its dockside location on the Ohio River as a part of the Tropicana’s original agreement with the city. In fact, Tropicana is also contributing $1 million towards this project. The relocation should be done in 2018.

The new and dry Tropicana Evansville

The new 45,000-square foot gaming floor will include more than 1,100 real cash slots and 45 table games.

In addition to the massive new gaming footprint, the new land-based casino will also feature two new restaurants and a lounge. The property’s Tap House will feature 36 beers. There will also be a new 24-hour deli. Moreover, a new 421 lounge will open with a name showcasing the casino’s Riverside Drive address in Evansville.

“It’s appropriate, us being the first casino in the state of Indiana and it’s appropriate for us to be the first ones to take advantage of the new land-based legislation,” Tropicana Evansville General Manager John Chaszar said at a news conference announcing the facility’s opening date. “When it first came to Evansville, it was a new milestone for the city of Evansville and we’re really looking forward to this next era of entertainment.”

Tropicana Evansville needs to hire as many as 100 new people to help run the facility.Accordingly, they are hosting a job fair Monday September 18, 2017 at the Tropicana Evansville Hotel.

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Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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