On Wednesday, the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) said four companies had applied to build a casino in Terre Haute. The four include Hard Rock International, Terre Haute Entertainment, Churchill Downs Incorporated, and Full House Resorts. Each of these paid an application fee of $50,000.
Terre Haute is an hour west of Indianapolis, near the border of Illinois State. The open license results from the state’s legislature passing a gaming bill two years ago, freeing one casino license, which was overwhelmingly accepted during a 2019 referendum in west-central Indiana County.
This license was given to Spectacle Jack LLC in May 2020, as it was the only company that applied for the operating license. The brand partnered with Hard Rock to run the casino.
But, following a lengthy investigation on Spectacle Entertainment, the approval process was delayed. During the investigation, the Indiana gaming commission discovered that officials at Spectacle Entertainment were involved in a federal probe for making illegal contributions to political campaigns.
The investigated executives, John Keeler and Rod Ratcliff, eventually backed out of the project to save the company. With Greg Gibson remaining at the company, he renamed the brand to Lucy Luck.
Yet, the gaming commission did not renew the license for the new company. The Spectacle co-founder and Terre Haute businessman did not convince the gaming board on how he planned to propel the casino project, leading to the commission’s decision not to renew the license.
The four companies have different proposals for the upcoming license. Here is a brief of each proposal:
1. Hard Rock International
Hard rock international already has another casino in the state. Its new proposal for this extra license is to build a hard rock café, a gaming floor holding 850 slot machines and 35 table games, and six restaurants and bars.
2. Terre Haute Entertainment in Partnership Premier Gaming Group
Premier Gaming Group is the smallest among the four but has promised to build a casino just like a “big company.” The group proposes to invest $100 million to build a trail, park, convention space, rooftop bar, and spa. In addition, it will build a casino holding 20 table games, 800 slot machines, and several restaurants.
3. Churchill Downs Inc.
Churchill Downs Inc. dubbed its proposal as The Queen of Terre Haute Casino and Resort. It will feature two spires sportsbooks and a luxury hotel.
In their proposal, Churchill believes it will create a $190 million economy for the state. It will have 50 table games, 1000 slot machines, and 125 hotel rooms.
4. Full House Resorts
Full house proposes a $250 million luxury hotel and casino, dubbed, American Place slated to come up at I-70 and State Road 46 interchange. The brand already has a casino in Rising Sun in Indiana. The project will have a solar energy source, a sportsbook, a gaming floor holding 1000 slot machines, and 50 table games.
License Award Could Be Delayed
Following IGC’s decision not to renew Lucy Luck’s license, Gibson appealed the decision. The case is currently at the state’s office of administrative law proceedings.
But, the IGC Executive Director Greg Small has insisted that the commission will continue to review the proposal. He noted that he was pleased with companies interested in the Vigo County casino license.
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