- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) - A labor union that represents some workers at the Ameristar Casino in East Chicago is asking a judge to review the Indiana Gaming Commission’s approval of Pinnacle Entertainment’s plan to sell its gambling boat to a real estate investment trust and then lease it back through a subsidiary.

Unite Here Local 1, which represents more than 15,000 hospitality workers in Chicago and northwestern Indiana, contends in a petition for review filed Monday in Lake County Circuit Court that the sale of the boat by Pinnacle to Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. would violate a state law limiting an entity to owning a maximum of two casinos. GLPI owns the Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and also has been approved to purchase the real estate at the Belterra Casino in Florence, Indiana.

The Gaming Commission found that because GLPI does not operate the casinos on any of the Indiana properties it owns, the sale does not violate Indiana’s two-casino maximum.

Unite Here is asking a court to either issue a stay of the commission ruling allowing the sale of the boat or a preliminary injunction. No hearing date has been set on the union’s petition.

The union contends its members would be harmed by the sale because the lease payments would mean less money available for better wages and benefits and could lead to fewer jobs.

The plan calls for the casino license to be transferred from Pinnacle to its subsidiary, PNK Entertainment Inc.

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