Full House Resorts notified Indiana Gaming Commission officials it would drop its legal challenges regarding the casino license for Terre Haute. Churchill Downs may now move forward.
US.- Churchill Downs’ Queen of Terre Haute casino is one step closer to becoming a reality.
After lots of drama around the Vigo County casino licence, which included two legal challenges against the Indiana Gaming Commission from Lucy Luck and Full House Resorts, the path is now clear for Churchill Downs, the company awarded the licence, to begin the construction of the new casino.
On November 17, the IGC granted the Vigo County casino licence to Churchill Downs after a 7-0 vote. However, Full House Resorts, the other finalist, filed a lawsuit against the commission claiming it violated Indiana’s open door law regarding meetings.
It said the licence decision should be nullified. Now, Full House notified Indiana Gaming Commission officials it would drop its legal challenges.
In a letter cited by Casino.org to IGC General Counsel Dennis Mullen, Paul Vink, a lawyer with Bose McKinney & Evans, an Indianapolis firm representing Full House, said the company had no malicious intent nor did it want to delay the project further.
“Although we disagree with the characterisations that were made regarding the motives and merits of our claims, the comments by the Chairman and the other commissioners made clear that, even if the process were reopened or repeated, the outcome is unlikely to be different,” the letter said.
“Full House’s top priority is for the Commission to continue to view the company as having the highest levels of character and integrity,” it added.
The previously cited site also shared a statement from IGC chairman Michael McMains that said he appreciated Full House’s reconsideration.
“We are pleased that Full House has dismissed these actions and that Vigo County and the greater community of West Central Indiana will soon benefit from this significant economic development project,” he said.
In December, the IGC also ended another legal challenge when the commission reached a settlement with Lucy Luck Gaming over the non-renewal of its Vigo County casino licence. Under the agreement, Lucy Luck will get back its $5m licence fee.
Greg Small, executive director of the Gaming Commission, said: “While the IGC is confident we would have prevailed in the matter, doing so would have taken months if not years of litigation. This settlement allows the ICG to avoid the legal cost of continuing the litigation.”
Commission chairman McMains said: “I understand this was difficult. And clearly Mr. Gibson and Lucy Luck put the interest of their community above their own personal interest in reaching this settlement, and we really appreciate it.”
In June, the commission issued an order declaring Lucy Luck ineligible for renewal of its Vigo County casino owner’s licence. The commission said a qualified executive team had not been established and that Lucy Luck’s financing was incomplete. Elizabeth Gamboa, an administrative law judge, later stayed the non-renewal order.
In early November, the Gaming Commission rejected a settlement proposal from Lucy Luck Gaming. In that proposal, Lucy Luck asked that the state renew its Vigo County casino licence and allow it to pay minority investors per redemption agreements. It also asked that Hard Rock be allowed to take over Lucy Luck Gaming.
The Queen of Terre Haute casino
Churchill Downs will invest $190m, with $110m for construction of a 392,816-square-foot facility, creating 1,000 construction jobs. The casino portion of the building would measure 56,400 square feet and host 1,000 slot machines and 50 game tables.
It also plans a 10-storey, 125-room luxury hotel and TwinSpires sportsbook. Churchill Downs projects its casino will produce $638.9m in gross gaming receipts in the first five years and will receive 6.7 million visitors. The project is expected to create 500 permanent jobs
The company envisions an entertainment space with seating for 500 patrons. The facility would have a maximum capacity of 6,600 people. The connecting hotel’s capacity will be 900, with standard, junior and executive suites as well as a presidential suite. The complex would include Indiana-themed art.
Bill Carstanjen, chief executive officer of Churchill Downs, said: “We will do right by this decision… We’re getting started right now.”
He expects the casino to be up and running within 12-16 months.