The gambling regulatory body of Indiana has provided an affiliate of Churchill Downs with official permission to relocate the project of its Terre Haute casino from a potentially less appealing site on the city’s west side to a more appropriate location on the city’s east side.
The casino project is called Queen of Terre Haute and is worth $240 million. It is expected to become operational in late 2023, featuring 50 table games, 1,000 slot machines, a TwinSpires sportsbook, as well as a 125-room luxury hotel, a rooftop bar, a steak house and a range of other amenities.
According to the original project presented by the Churchill Downs affiliate, the casino was set to be situated in close proximity to the state line of Illinois, on an undeveloped site of 20.9 acres between the Haute City Center Mall and the Wabash River. The land was adjacent to a sewage treatment plant and at a very close distance from the nearby federal prison’s execution chamber.
However, officials of the gambling company explained that further communication with Terre Haute citizens and officials prompted them to consider a new and more appropriate site for the casino project, so the company chose a 50-acre location just north of Interstate 70.
Progress of the Terre Haute Casino Moves Forward Slowly
What makes the new location a more preferred one? In addition to some extra space that would allow potential expansion of the venue in the future, the new site for Queen of Terre Haute is more easily accessible, as it is considered a part of a growing commercial core and has been much more supported by the wider public, as confirmed by both the senior vice president for corporate development and the senior vice president for real estate development of Churchill Downs – Jason Sauer and Ryan Jordan.
Terre Haute was granted a gambling operating license by the 2019 General Assembly, as part of some efforts aimed at consolidating the two gaming permits for Gary into one. Furthermore, plans also included permission for the Gary casino to relocate to a land-based site adjacent to Interstate 80-94 from Lake Michigan.
The Gary casino, called Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana started operation on May 14th, 2021. The venue, which is worth $300 million, has been the highest-grossing casino in the state since October last year, surpassing the results of the Hammond-based Horseshoe Casino.
Unfortunately for the developers, things with the development of the Terre Haute casino project have been slowly moving forward. The Indiana Gaming Commission rejected the renewal request of the original license holder in June 2021 because of a number of ethical and financial concerns. As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, at the time, the state’s gambling regulatory body also noted that there was visible progress toward the planned construction of a casino venue in Terre Haute after more than a year.
All of this provided other gambling operators with the chance to apply for the casino operating permit. Eventually, in November last year, Indiana’s gambling regulator awarded the license to Churchill Downs.