Churchill Downs Seeks Change Of Venue For Vigo County Casino

Churchill Downs Inc. has filed a request to rezone agricultural land in Vigo County as part of a proposed change of venue for its casino in Terre Haute.

When it originally was selected as the winner of the Vigo County casino license in November by the Indiana Gaming Commission, Churchill Downs proposed its casino to be on the west side of the city near U.S. Route 41. The area requested to be rezoned includes two parcels of land totaling approximately 50 acres on the east side of Terre Haute along East Margaret Drive by the Clabber Girl Distribution Center and closer to the Interstate 70-Indiana 46 interchange.

The original location, near a sewage treatment plant and county prison, was a point of contention after the IGC awarded the casino license to CDI. Runner-up Full House Resorts filed a lawsuit in December looking to void the state agency’s decision, claiming Churchill Downs had always considered not having the casino on its proposed grounds in the application submitted.

Full House withdrew its lawsuit last month. That, coupled with the IGC settling the appeal filed by Lucy Luck following the rejection of its license renewal last summer, allowed Churchill Downs to finally obtain the casino license versus the certificate of suitability it was awarded at the time of the IGC decision in November.

Churchill Downs is expected to invest $190 million into the Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort, which includes $110 million toward a 380,000-square-foot casino and hotel. The venue is projected to have 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games, and a sportsbook spanning more than 56,000 square feet of gaming space. The casino, which would be located approximately 70 miles west of Indianapolis, would be the 13th for the state after Hard Rock Northern Indiana opened last May in Gary.

While no agenda has been set for the next Indiana Gaming Commission meeting, scheduled for March 8, the rezone is likely to come up, considering Churchill Downs will seek to have it approved at the next Vigo County Plan Commission meeting scheduled for March 2.

IGC Deputy Director Jenny Reske said the commission would “review the contracts involved and consideration of the commercial reasonableness of the transaction” as part of it customary review regarding Churchill’s compliance as a licensee.

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