INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – After a multiple-hour long deliberation on Wednesday, the Indiana Gaming Commission awarded Churchill Downs ownership of Vigo County’s casino license. The move comes after years of legal battles and legislation.
The proposed casino location is planned to be just west of the current Haute City Center on US-41. The development would include a 10-story luxury hotel, the area’s first rooftop pool and bar, and The Queen of Terre Haute Casino. Those involved said the casino will feature 1,000 slot machines, multiple table games, and other amenities.
“It’s been a long process to say the least,” Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett said.
Years of discussion led to the Commission’s final decision.
“I’m just excited to get this project finished, over with and to get ground broke,” said Vigo County Commissioner Chris Switzer.
This is Churchill Downs’ first facility in the Hoosier state. $638.9 million is expected to be generated within the first five years. It’s also expected to add 500 permanent jobs.
“We hadn’t found an opportunity for Indiana. Indiana is a fantastic state, with transparent, easy to understand regulatory infrastructure, so for us as a gaming company, we finally found our way to get involved,” said Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen.
With a winner declared, Mayor Bennett said the focus now shifts to assessing the regional impact.
“It fits into our community plan from a tourism perspective, it brings revenue to the area that we’re going to be able to spend. Whether you gamble or not, the money that will come into the community will go to make it a better place. It’s a win, win, win, across the board for everybody,” Bennett said.
While the project is planned to be near US-41, some believe the economic potential lies in other areas. Vigo County Commissioner Chris Switzer believes the most potential is on the east side of town.
“I think Vigo County has an issue; we start projects in certain areas, we never have a follow-through,” said Switzer. “I think the east side has had the most development. I would encourage them look moving east. I think Bill talked about that so we’ll see what happens.”