Churchill Downs Wins Bid To Build New Indiana Casino

Written By Chris Imperiale on December 3, 2021 - Last Updated on May 22, 2023
Kentucky's Churchill Downs Will Construct New Casino in Indiana

A new casino is going up in western Indiana thanks to Kentucky’s Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI).

After work originally started on the casino located in Terre Haute, things shut down due to some issues. There was an investigation of criminal and financial wrongdoing among the group that originally owned the casino license, Spectacle Entertainment.

The company of the racetrack for the iconic Kentucky Derby is set to expand its gambling footprint. CDI already owns 10 casinos across eight states in the US, but none in Indiana.

For the new Indiana casino, CDI is looking to create a $240 million establishment including a 125-room hotel. Intending to span 10 stories and feature a rooftop lounge.

Churchill Downs fits the bill

The company won the rights to resume construction of the Terre Haute casino over three other bidders, including Hard Rock International. The Indiana Gaming Commission decided CDI had the best proposal.

Perhaps Churchill Downs earned the bid in part because of their current position, as explained by CEO Bill Carstanjen. He told the commission board that his company is different than the others because it doesn’t already operate casinos in Indiana, and that they aren’t working on any additional projects at this time.

According to ABC News, Carstanjen explained:

“This is a market that we’ve been after for a while. We’re going to be absolutely focused on going to the maximum extent we can.”

The new Terre Haute casino will be Indiana’s 13th in the state. However, it also marks a new city of the Hoosier State to receive its first casino since 2008.

With the legalization of sports betting in Indiana, there’s reason to believe Churchill Downs will debut a sportsbook at this new casino.

Even with the state offering plenty of online options, retail betting still contributes a sizeable revenue. Residents will take as many retail casino locations as possible.

Meanwhile, Kentucky residents are still waiting patiently for movement regarding legal KY sportsbooks.

Indiana gaming commission Executive Director Greg Small talked about making progress with the new casino, saying:

“This project has been pending for too long and too little has been done to fully capture the benefits to the state or local community.”

Churchill Downs should begin construction soon, despite that former ownership is in negotiations for a settlement on the loss of the casino license.

If all goes according to plan, the casino should open for business within the next 16 months.

Queen of Terre Haute to boost the local economy

While Churchill hasn’t officially received the license yet, the gaming commission did hand out a Certificate of Suitability.

This is exciting news for the state in general, but it’s particularly so for those located in Vigo County. Churchill’s new establishment dubbed the Queen of Terre Haute is going up on 21 acres on Honey Creek Drive. This is close to the Haute City Shopping Mall and the new casino should help to boost traffic there.

Besides providing a new destination for gamblers, the casino will help generate new jobs. The Queen of Terre Haute is estimated to bring 400 full-time employees, along with 1,000 jobs for construction.

Photo by Thomas Kelley /
Chris Imperiale Avatar
Written by
Chris Imperiale

View all posts by Chris Imperiale