(ADDS IGC CHAIRMAN STATEMENT, DETAILS)
Full House Resorts filed a notice of dismissal Tuesday night for its complaint against the Indiana Gaming Commission for choosing Churchill Downs Inc. as the winner of the Vigo County casino license.
Full House filed the complaint last month in Marion County, claiming that the Nov. 17 meeting in which CDI was awarded a certificate of suitability violated the state’s Open Door Law regarding a mid-hearing executive session. It also claimed that the IGC considered the merits of CDI’s proposal on a property that was not disclosed to the commission in its initial application.
In a letter sent to IGC General Counsel Dennis Mullen, Full House Resorts Counsel Paul Vink noted that “Although we disagree with the characterizations that were made regarding the motives and merits of our claims, the comments by the Chairman and other commissioners made clear that, even if the process were reopened or repeated, the outcome is unlikely to be different.”
Both Churchill Downs and Full House Resorts were finalists for the Vigo County license, beating out Hard Rock and Premier Gaming. After the IGC rejected Full House by a 5-2 vote, it approved CDI in unanimous fashion. Full House did not provide a reason for filing the notice of dismissal, which was done without prejudice.
Shortly after Full House filed the lawsuit, IGC Chairman Harold McManis excoriated the gaming company at the subsequent IGC meeting, calling the lawsuit “vindictive, malicious, and frivolous.” McManis, who actually voted to give Full House the license over CDI, also called the complaint “sour grapes.”
In a statement e-mailed to Hoosier State Bets on Thursday, McManis said, “We are pleased that Full House has dismissed these actions and that Vigo County and the greater community of West Central Indiana will soon benefit from this significant economic development project.”
Vigo County process a rocky ride
Bringing a casino to Vigo County has proven challenging. The licensing process was reopened over the summer after the IGC unanimously rejected renewing the license Lucy Luck won in May 2020. Lucy Luck, which was an offshoot of Spectacle Gaming, had planned to open a “rock-sino” in Terre Haute in conjunction with Hard Rock.
Lucy Luck filed an appeal of the denial, which prevented Churchill Downs from acquiring the license at the time of the November vote, but the group dropped the appeal in return for getting its license application fee refunded.
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 casino is projected to have 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games, and a sportsbook spanning more than 56,000 square feet of gaming space.