churchill downs terre haute casino.jpg

Exterior rendering of the Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Indiana Gaming Commission has chosen Churchill Downs Inc. to build and operate a casino in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Churchill Downs was one of four gaming companies jockeying over the opportunity to expand their brand and develop the Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort — submitting its proposal in September.

During a public hearing in Indianapolis on Wednesday, each company being considered gave 30-minute breakdowns of their visions for the casino in Vigo County.

Churchill Downs said it will invest $190 million, with $110 million of that going towards the construction of a more than 390,000 square foot hotel and casino.

The gaming portion of the building would be more than 56,000 square feet and house 1,000 slot machines, 50 game tables and a 125-room luxury hotel, a state-of-the-art TwinSpires sportsbook and several food and beverage offerings.

The project would also create 500 permanent jobs. 

"From what I've heard today, we were willing to go to any level of specificity. We've done the work on this and we're ready to go," a Churchill Downs spokesperson said Wednesday. "I have your check here for $5 million. We are ready to go if you want to take our money and award us the license, we are ready to go and get started on this. We've done our planning."

The commission was sold on Churchill Downs leading the project just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. But before Churchill Downs can receive a Vigo County gaming license, an appeal to not renew the license for Lady Luck Casino — which currently operates the property — must be settled first, according to the commission.

The name of the casino resort is inspired by Terre Haute's nickname, "Queen City of the Wabash Valley." The Queen of Terre Haute will reflect the heritage of Vigo County and the surrounding region.

Economists at Purdue University estimate the casino resort would generate $190 million in annual regional economic impact, and 1,000 construction jobs in addition to the 500 permanent jobs. 

According to Purdue's economic impact study, the project would be expected to deliver a 2% annual increase in the West Central Indiana gross regional product.

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