The chief executive officer of Churchill Downs, Bill Carstanjen, revealed that the horse racing complex has finally been given permission to operate a casino venue.
On November 17th, the Indiana Gaming Commission unanimously voted to award the Vigo County casino license to Churchill Downs. Under the permit, the company would be able to establish and operate the Queen of Terre Haute casino venue. Previously, a motion seeking to see Full House Resorts get the casino license failed on a 5 to 2 vote.
The chairman of the Indiana Gaming Commission, Michael McMains, as well as one of the regulatory body members, Mark Fine, initially backed Full House Resorts but after the vote failed, they decided to support the Churchill Downs bid.
Currently, CDI, which will now get the Vigo County casino operating permit, owns about 12 casinos and 5 racing tracks, including Churchill Downs, an iconic racetrack in Louisville that is also home to the Kentucky Derby – a legendary horse race that is held in May every year.
At the public hearing that took place in Indianapolis, the state’s gambling regulator heard from four applicants for the casino license – Churchill Downs, Full House, Premier Gaming and Hard Rock. Each of them was given 30 minutes to describe their visions for the Terre Haute casino project. All presentations, except for the one of Premier Gaming, lasted a little over an hour with questions from the Indiana Gaming Commission. Then, the commissioners revealed that Churchill Downs and Full House will be the last two standing opponents, as Premier Gaming and Hard Rock did not manage to make it to the final stage.
Churchill Downs to Invest $190 Million in the Casino Project
As confirmed by the state’s gambling watchdog, Churchill Downs was the only casino license applicant whose project did not involve the construction of a casino at the juncture of Interstate 70 and Indiana 46. The company filed a project for a casino that would be established on almost 21 acres of undeveloped land situated in close proximity to the Haute City Center Mall.
Churchill Downs has revealed that it will make a $190-million investment in the project. About $110 million of that amount would be used for the construction of a facility situated on more than 392 square feet that would create 1,000 construction jobs.
The future casino would occupy 56,400 square feet of the building, with 50 gaming tables and 1,000 slot machines set to be hosted at the casino. The project, which is expected to create 500 permanent jobs, will also feature a TwinSpires sportsbook and a 125-room luxury hotel. According to preliminary projections, the casino will generate gross gaming receipts of $638.9 million over the first 5 years of operation, with about 6.7 million people expected to visit it over the same period of time.
Churchill Downs’ project also involves an entertainment space with 500 seats to make sure that the Special Events Room complements the Terre Haute Convention Center, estimated at $35 million.