Four gaming companies are in the running to take over the Terre Haute casino project. The project has been marred with a number of different setbacks and hurdles, but things are finally moving in the right direction.
The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) will decide by Nov. 17 which company will get the license. Greg Small, the IGC’s executive director, announced the decision at a meeting on Wednesday.
Four companies compete for Terre Haute casino license
Companies interested in the Vigo County casino license had to apply by Sept. 22.
On Sept. 23, the IGC announced that it had received four bids.
The following companies applied for the license:
- 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)
Churchill Downs and The Queen of Terre Haute
Churchill Downs’ bid included plans to name the casino The Queen of Terre Haute. The casino would include up to 1,000 slot machines and 50 table games.
The plans also call for a 125-room luxury hotel and TwinSpires Sportsbook on property.
The casino will reflect the heritage of Vigo county in its concepts and design features across the facility.
Hard Rock Rocksino
Hard Rock has already taken over a casino project in Gary, Indiana. If it wins the bid for the Terre Haute project, the casino would become a sister property to the one up north.
The Hard Rock was already planning to lend its name to the Terre Haute project back when Lucy Luck Gaming was in charge of the property. Now that Lucy Luck lost the license, it’s looking to do things on its own without a partner.
Hard Rock plans to build a “Rocksino” with 850 slot machines, 35 table and poker games, and six restaurants and bars.
Full House Resorts American Place
If Full House Resorts wins the bid, it will have two casinos in the state. The company already owns Rising Star Casino.
Its plans include building a temporary casino named American Place in the Haute City Center Mall in the former Macys department store.
It would open the temporary casino in mid-May 2022, and operate it for 18-24 months, while it develops the permanent location on land it owns by the I-70/SR 46 interchange.
Full House is willing to invest $250 million to build a facility with 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games, and a sportsbook.
Its hotel will be in a shape resembling a “happy smile.” Most of the guest rooms will be able to enjoy extended views of the surrounding area.
Premier Gaming Group and Terre Haute Entertainment Holdings
Premier Gaming Group and Terre Haute Entertainment Holdings have submitted plans for a casino that includes 800 slot machines and 20 table games.
The property would also feature a sportsbook and a covered outdoor rooftop bar.
If given the bid, it would be the first casino property for the group in Indiana.
Greg Small has big task to work through
IGC Executive Director Greg Small is taking on a big first task in his new role. Prior to last month, Sara Gonso Tait had been in that role with the IGC since 2016.
While he might not have been the executive director for all of the drama with the Terre Haute casino project, he was no stranger to it. Small served as General Counsel for the commission under Gonso Tait.
He will be key in deciding who gets the license and gets this project back on track.
Speaking of the license bidding process, Small said,
“We have received four applications, so we are guaranteed a competitive process which I think will be to the great benefit of both the state and the local community, specifically because I think we have four known operators that are gaming professionals in other jurisdictions, so I think we have a good process ahead of us.”
After over 18 months of trials and tribulations for this project, things will finally get moving in November when the IGC makes its final decision.