Churchill Downs to build $240-million casino in Indiana
By Bob Garcia
Indiana regulators approve Churchill Downs’ application for a new casino in Terre Haute
The race to obtain a license and thus have the right to build a casino in Terre Haute, Indiana, had a few contenders, but it appears that Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) emerged as the winner. The company now won’t wait long to make its recently approved plans a reality and turn the site into an attraction for many tourists looking for a night out.
Two years ago, the citizens of Vigo County took part in a vote to approve a casino in Terre Haute. Having won a majority approval at the time from residents, it paved the way for the decision finally made mid-week. According to a Tribune-Star newspaper report in Terre Haute, by a unanimous vote, the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) agreed to award the casino bid to CDI.
CDI is well known for owning Louisville’s iconic horse racing track of the same name, the site of the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing. The company’s exposure appears to be quite large, as it also operates several land-based casinos in a total of eight states and owns the TwinSpires online casino brand.
A week ago, the IGC opened a period for residents to comment on the four competitors seeking the desired license. The IGC then held a Wednesday hearing to hear bids from the four applicants, CDI and its three competitors, Full House Resorts, Hard Rock and Premier Gaming.
After presentations and a round of questions, only two finalists remained, CDI and Full House. The committee rejected Full House by a vote of 5-2, then approved CDI’s bid. “We are thrilled for this opportunity and honored for the trust that the Indiana Gaming Commission has placed in CDI and our plan to bring a true destination casino resort to West Central Indiana,” CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen said in a media release issued by the company.