Evansville expects casino revenue growth, but not planning on it – Tristatehomepage.com

Evansville is gambling on its future and local leaders like the odds.

Tropicana’s new casino is poised to pump millions of dollars into the local economy, which could help make your life better too. It could buy new cars and trucks, or new roads and sidewalks.

Money you spend at the casino will help Evansville spend more money on you, but Mayor Lloyd Winnecke is playing it conservative – at least for now.

The 75,000 square-foot, $50 million casino has been a dream realized for Tropicana and regional officials plugged into balancing budgets and selling the city.

“The momentum is swinging our way,” says Greg Wathen, president of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana.

Evansville was a pioneer in gaming in Indiana, becoming the first casino to open when gambling was legalized, and now it’s the first to go land-based. Winnecke thinks that gives Evansville an edge.

“For a while, they’re going to have a leg up on their state-wide competition,” Winnecke says, “that’s a good thing.”

Winnecke has cautious optimism gaming revenue will lift the River City’s bottom line next year, but he’s not willing to roll the dice on it. The city isn’t formally projecting growth. Winnecke says he expects around $12 million; the same stream of cash coming from the riverboat this year.

“We took a very conservative approach to gaming budgeting for next year, in fact we budgeted it to be flat,” he says, but “we anticipate it will be up.”

Wathen expects something similar, with Tropicana as a cornerstone for growth across the Tri-State. “A lot of folks have different perceptions of Evansville and Southwest Indiana and they don’t always perceive what’s here until they get here.”

Building a successful city and region starts from the ground up, and Winnecke says money generated

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