Four Different Gaming Companies Bid For Terre Haute Casino Project

Posted on September 23, 2021

Four different gaming companies have applied to run Terre Haute’s future casino.

The property has faced a number of roadblocks over the last year and a half, and now the casino is starting back at square one.

Things have been messy for Indiana’s newest retail casino, but the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) is finally getting the ball rolling on the project once again.

Terre Haute casino applicants

The IGC received four different bids to run the show in Terre Haute.

The deadline to send in those applications was by the close of business on Sept. 22.

Each of the following companies is looking to take control of the project:

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

The IGC is already evaluating each application and hopes to have the process finished by the end of the year.

Churchill Downs and The Queen of Terre Haute

Churchill Downs would be a newcomer to Indiana if the company’s bid ends up winning the IGC’s approval.

Chances are you’ve heard of Churchill before as a company. It operates the racetrack where the Kentucky Derby takes place in addition to operating other gaming properties throughout Kentucky.

The company plans to name the Terre Haute casino “The Queen of Terre Haute” if the operating license ends up in its hands.

Premier Gaming Group has Indiana ties

Kevin Preston, Premier Gaming Group’s founder and president, has some ties to Indiana gambling.

Preston previously worked at Majestic Star Casino in Gary from 1999-2001.

However, some things have changed since then.

The aging Majestic Star riverboats were replaced by Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana earlier this year.

Full House Resorts wants a second Indiana casino

Full House Resorts is no stranger to Indiana, either.

The company already owns Rising Star Casino in southern Indiana. In other words, the Terre Haute property would be the company’s second big outing in the Hoosier State.

Rising Star currently works with two Indiana online sportsbooksTwinSpires and WynnBET, and eventually, the Terre Haute casino will have sportsbook partners of its own.

If Full House Resorts win the bid, it could end up with a third online betting partner in the state.

Hard Rock fighting to keep its position

Originally, this project was designed to create a second Hard Rock Casino in the state. The Terre Haute casino was going to become the Gary Hard Rock’s sister property.

Then, the Spectacle Entertainment debacle muddied up the waters.

Long story short, there were big issues with Spectacle, which originally managed the Hard Rock in Gary. Things got so bad that Hard Rock ended up buying majority ownership of Spectacle and is now running things up at the Northern Indiana property.

The company is looking to finish what it started, except this time without a partner company in Terre Haute.

Lucy Luck Gaming gets the boot

At first, Hard Rock was going to provide the branding for Terre Haute’s casino, and Lucy Luck Gaming was going to run the day-to-day operations.

That was the working plan until the IGC removed Lucy Luck from the project back in June.

In a nutshell, the commission wasn’t happy with the slow moving process of things. After over a year and a half, Lucy Luck still hadn’t put together an executive management team to run the casino.

Lucy Luck is appealing its removal with the IGC, but nothing is settled on that front.

At the very least, Lucy Luck will have a lot more competition this time around.

Previously known as Spectacle Jack, the company was the lone applicant for this Terre Haute project back in 2019. Now there are multiple other would-be casino operators in the mix.

Regardless, new IGC Executive Director Greg Small and his team will have some big decisions to make with these applications if they want to get this project back on schedule.

Will the property still be a Hard Rock property as planned, or will the IGC go in a totally new direction?

Photo by Associated Press
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a sports writer based in Indianapolis, IN. He's an Indiana University graduate who's spent time as a sports reporter covering teams at the prep, collegiate and professional levels.

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