Thursday, November 5, 2009

Voters approve referendum for new
Wishard Memorial Hospital/Casino

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A majority of voters turned out in favor of the new $750 Million Wishard Memorial Hospital and Casino Complex Tuesday night. This new facility will be approximately 1.2 million square ft.; it will house over 400 hospital beds, plus 250 slot machines. The new building will be located between Michigan and 10th streets.

The gaming component sealed the deal for leery taxpayers. Although the original plan called for funding the project with federal bonds and no use of tax dollars, uninformed voters still fervently resisted the imagined hike in taxes.

On the heels of the ballot success city officials have already chosen a partner for the project and are proud to announce Caesars Indianapolis at Wishard Memorial Hospital. Caesars’ $700 Million financial contribution for the project is welcomed by a state that is certainly in need.

"This will be a fantastic joint venture between the healthcare and the gaming industry,” said Doug Sparks, City Finance Chairman. “This is clearly a win-win for the Indianapolis community."

Construction of the facility is projected to create over 450 jobs alone and possibly more once the hospital/casino is up and running. City officials tout the financial benefits and hope the plan will also spark a wave of health-related tourism.

"We see this as a great investment,” says Stan Yavlick, Caesars Indianapolis Area Manager. “I feel we have a unique opportunity to position ourselves. We’re not the place you go for a wild bachelor party - that’s always going to be Vegas. But, if need a leg amputated and love to gamble, why not Indy?”

This new hospital/casino would be the first of its kind in the United States. Currently there are several in Canada. These casinos help patients pass the long hours they spend waiting for inferior-rationed health services. Several other American cities are watching with interest to see how the new casino/hospital trend pays off here.

Story by Eric Bush