The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGG) is expected to select the applicant that is to be allowed to build and operate a new casino in Terre Haute on November 17th.
So far, four gambling companies have filed applications for the casino license that is being reassigned by the 2019 General Assembly from Gary to Terre Haute as part of the process of consolidation of the two boat casinos operating under the Majestic Star brand into one land-based entity in Northern Indiana.
For the time being, two of the companies applying for the Terre Haute casino operating license – Full House Resorts (Rising Star) and Hard Rock – already operate casinos in the state of Indiana. Churchill Downs, the third applicant, currently holds a sports betting license in the state. Terre Haute Entertainment LLC – a joint venture of the Terre Haute Entertainment Holdings and Premier Gaming Group – is the only casino permit applicant that is new to the local market.
As explained by Indiana Gaming Commission officials, the fact that three of the four companies applying for the Terre Haute casino permit are already part of the regulated gambling industry of the state will speed up the process of evaluation. Under the Indiana gambling laws, all applicants for a gambling operating license must undergo extensive checks of their business structure and executive backgrounds, financing and corporate practices.
Four Gambling Companies Compete for the Terre Haute Operating Permit
According to the application documents filed by the competitors, each company has a different vision for a casino venue in Terre Haute, with their projects ranging from 20 table games and 800 slot machines to 50 table games and more than 1000 slot machines.
Furthermore, Hard Rock is the only one of the four candidates that has no plans for the construction of an upscale hotel as part of the initial development. The company’s casino resort project indicates that a hotel will be built as part of the second phase of the resort’s development, which is quite similar to the operator’s plans for their casino in Gary. Hard Rock has also unveiled a showroom for live musical entertainment featuring 300 seats as part of its Rocksino project. Also, each of the four proposals features a great variety of dining areas at the casino resort.
According to reports, Hard Rock may have an advantage over its rivals because it already has a full building and operations plan for a casino in Terre Haute, which has been developed in association with Lucy Luck Gaming, the company that previously held the operating license. A few months ago, the Indiana Gaming Commission said it would not renew Lucy Luck’s permit because of multiple ethical and financial concerns.
Furthermore, the state’s gambling watchdog cited the fact there was no visible progress in the construction of a Terre Haute casino after more than a year as one of the reasons why it rejected Lucy Luck’s license renewal request and opened the door for other gambling companies to apply for the permit.