Churchill Downs Wins License To Build Casino In Terre Haute

The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) has given approval for Churchill Downs to construct the “Queen of Terre Haute” Casino in Vigo County. The decision was made at the IGC’s Wednesday meeting.

The casino is expected to commence operations in 2023, provided all plans proceed as scheduled.

The Queen of Terre Haute will be Indiana’s final new casino for the foreseeable future.

Churchill Downs outperforms Hard Rock.

Churchill Downs can finally proceed with its plan to construct a casino in Terre Haute, now that it has a gaming license.

Before the IGC revoked their license earlier this year, Lucy Luck Gaming was the original owner of the project. The company had intended to manage daily operations at the casino, with Hard Rock supplying the branding.

Lucy Luck proposed a settlement to the IGC in an effort to recover the license, but the commission rejected this proposal on Monday. This rejection did not seem promising for Hard Rock’s attempt to obtain the license.

Lucy Luck is challenging the loss, but the process is still in progress.

The IGC technically awarded Churchill a Certificate of Suitability at the meeting today. However, the commission is holding off on officially distributing the license until the appeal of Lucy Luck is concluded.

Churchill had to surpass three other companies to secure its gambling rights in Vigo County.

  • Full House Resorts, Inc. (FHR-Atlas LLC)
  • Hard Rock, LLC Terre Haute, HR
  • Premier Gaming Group and Terre Haute Entertainment Holdings LLC, collectively known as Terre Haute Entertainment, LLC.

Throughout this entire process, Hard Rock may have been the favorite.

In Terre Haute, local officials were hoping for the company to regain the casino rights. This was a unique edge that no other contenders possessed.

Nonetheless, Churchill emerged victorious from the process.

Coming soon: Queen of Terre Haute

Churchill is most renowned for the Kentucky Derby, but currently, the company is establishing its presence in Indiana.

The Queen of Terre Haute should transform the gaming scene in Vigo County.

The company plans to construct a casino on 21 acres of unutilized land located on Honey Creek Drive, which is slightly west of the Haute City Shopping Mall for those unfamiliar with the area.

The Queen of Terre Haute aims to generate more than 400 new full-time positions in Terre Haute, in addition to creating 1,000 construction jobs.

Churchill’s first gaming property in Indiana will be a casino worth $239 million.

Terre Haute residents receive relief

The journey has been lengthy, but at last, the inhabitants of Terre Haute have received some clarifications.

This process originally began in Vigo County back in 2019. At that time, the only applicants for the operating license were Hard Rock and Lucy Luck.

Since then, the project has experienced all sorts of delays.

A scandal related to Lucy Luck’s preceding parent company created issues. Add in the multitude of obstacles posed by the pandemic, and the schedule in Terre Haute is significantly delayed.

Since the IGC removed Lucy Luck from the project in June, everything has been on hold.

However, now that Churchill has acquired the casino operating license, things can finally progress.

Residents of Terre Haute who have been patiently awaiting progress will find relief in this. Once it opens, the Queen of Terre Haute is expected to be a city attraction for years to come.

Photo by Dreamstime
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza serves as a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media, with a focus on Midwest sports betting and casino content. Before diving into the legal gambling industry, Garza was a professional sports writer, covering teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, and Indiana Pacers. Presently, he holds the position of Managing Editor for Play Indiana and PlayOhio, having previously worked with renowned brands like PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. Garza has been reporting on the gambling industry since 2019 and collaborates with a team of journalists to deliver extensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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