Indiana Gaming Commission Denies Settlement Offer For Terre Haute Casino License

Posted on November 15, 2021

The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) unanimously shot down Lucy Luck Gaming’s settlement offer to reclaim the Terre Haute casino license today.

Lucy Luck originally owned the casino license before the IGC removed the company from the project back in June.

The decision comes in advance of the commission’s Nov. 17 meeting to announce which company will win the rights to build a casino in Vigo County.

How Lucy Luck Gaming lost its license

Lucy Luck won the rights to build Terre Haute’s casino back in 2019, but the company was certainly taking its time with the project.

So much time, in fact, that the company needed to renew the license before it could even break ground on the casino.

The IGC decided that Greg Gibson, the owner of Lucy Luck, was not moving things along quickly enough.

The commission denied Lucy Luck’s request to renew the license earlier this summer.

Lucy Luck still hadn’t put together an executive management team to run the property, even after having the license in hand for over a year and a half. The IGC saw that as an unacceptable lack of progress for a project that had already faced too many delays.

Lucy Luck Gaming won’t comply with IGC

Lucy Luck appealed to try and regain the license. That appeal is still ongoing, but the company did offer the IGC a settlement to try and work out the situation.

The settlement offer had three main goals:

  1. Have the IGC renew Lucy Luck’s casino license
  2. Dilute Greg Gibson’s ownership of Lucy Luck
  3. Have Hard Rock take controlling interest of Lucy Luck within 90 days

The IGC voted to deny that settlement offer at today’s meeting.

IGC Executive Director Greg Small did not mince words when it came to Lucy Luck’s efforts to fix the problems that caused the company to lose the casino license in the first place.

According to Small, Lucy Luck hasn’t complied with any of the IGC’s requests from earlier this year.

“Lucy Luck has also not remedied deficiencies that led to the non-renewal order in June. Lucy Luck is in fact in worse shape today, especially on the corporate staffing side. Compliance with commission statutes and rules is the responsibility of the license holder. It’s not the responsibility of the regulatory agency to continually ask licensees what they have done in order to comply with commission rules.”

In other words, the IGC is sick of hassling Lucy Luck over the situation.

Small said that there has been “little to no contact” from the company since it lost the casino license in June.

The gaming commission was not going to accept Lucy Luck’s settlement offer with zero effort coming from the company’s side to fix the situation.

That’s big news for Terre Haute with the final decision for the city’s casino coming on Nov. 17.

More competition for Terre Haute casino

Lucy Luck was the only company that applied for Terre Haute’s casino license back in 2019. There was a lot more interest during the second round of bidding.

Three other companies are in the running to build the city’s casino.

  • CDITHLLC (Churchill Downs)
  • FHR-Atlas LLC (Full House Resorts, Inc.)
  • Terre Haute EntertainmentLLC (Premier Gaming Group)

Each company has its own set of plans for the casino that would make Terre Haute’s property unique.

Lucy Luck’s casino plans are tied to Hard Rock International.

The two companies plan to build a Hard Rock Casino in Terre Haute, with Lucy Luck running the day-to-day operations.

This would be a sister property to Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana, which opened in Gary earlier this year.

The competition is higher this time around, but Hard Rock and Lucy Luck have a key advantage that their competitors are missing out on.

Officials in Terre Haute are supporting Lucy Luck’s bid to build the casino. That’s mostly thanks to the company’s ties to the area.

Terre Haute businessman Greg Gibson owns Lucy Luck, so the company winning the bid would keep everything local for the city.

That is, if Gibson even wants to be a part of the project anymore.

Lucy Luck’s settlement offer included Gibson’s ownership of the company being transferred over to Hard Rock.

Vigo County’s casino was already supposed to be open by now. Instead, we don’t even know which company will be in charge of things yet.

Terre Haute is getting a new casino, it’s just a matter of which company will have its hands on the wheel. Regardless of whether Lucy Luck or one of its competitors ends up with the keys, residents in Terre Haute will finally have some answers after the IGC’s meeting this Wednesday.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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