he Indiana Gaming Commission has received four applications from companies seeking a gaming license to operate a casino in Vigo County. The application process finished Wednesday. Having met the deadline for the submission, the names of the applicants were published by the regulating entity:
Greg Small, Executive Director of the Gaming Commission, issued a statement where he said: “We are very pleased with the level of interest in the Vigo County casino license, and look forward to a competitive selection process. The work to evaluate these proposals begins immediately, with the goal of setting a commission meeting date for official action before the end of the year”.
The application and selection process was reopened in June after the Commission decided to deny an annual license renewal to Lucy Luck Gaming for a Hard Rock Terre Haute casino project, due to a variety of financial and ethical concerns, along with the lack of visible progress towards constructing a Terre Haute casino after more than a year.
Lucy Luck has appealed the decision to deny its license renewal. However, it is unclear how the pending appeal might affect the current license application process.
A render of the "Rocksino" joint project between Hard Rock and Lucy Luck
Hard Rock currently operates the Hard Rock Café Northern Indiana in Gary.
On the other hand, in an official press release dated September 22, Churchill Downs published its proposal to develop the Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort, for which the company sought the Vigo County license.
The Downs said, “The Queen of Terre Haute will feature up to 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games, a 125-room luxury hotel, a state-of-the-art TwinSpires sportsbook and several food & beverage offerings. From its name – inspired by Terre Haute’s nickname as the “Queen City of the Wabash Valley” – to concepts and design features across the facility, the Queen of Terre Haute will reflect the unique heritage of Vigo County and the surrounding region.”
The company also stated that the Queen of Terre Haute will generate an estimate of $190 million in annual regional economic impact, including 1,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs.
“Statute intended for Vigo County to benefit from the casino operation, and it is the responsibility of the Commission to ensure the realization of that goal. The Commission is committed to ensuring that the applicant selected for the Vigo County casino meets or exceeds all applicable standards and presents the highest potential for the successful operation of a casino. It is a top priority Commission to issue this license as expeditiously as possible,” the Commission stated back in June, right after reopening the application process.
“The Commission is committed to a transparent process for the review and issuance of the Vigo County license,” the notice stated.