Churchill Downs Can’t Open A Real Casino In Kentucky. But They’re Doing It In Indiana.

After opening a casino-like parimutuel betting venue in 2018 in the outskirts Louisville featuring what are effectively slot machines, with another planned another for downtown, the iconic horse racing company Churchill Downs is opening an entire casino in Indiana, a state, unlike Kentucky, where full-spectrum gambling is legal. 

On Thursday, the Indiana Gaming Commission accepted Churchill Downs Incorporated’s proposal to open the new casino, called the Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort, which will be in Vigo County, Indiana, which is about a three-hour drive from Louisville. 

“We are thrilled for this opportunity and honored for the trust that the Indiana Gaming Commission has placed in [Churchill Downs Incorporated] and our plan to bring a true destination casino resort to West Central Indiana,” said Bill Carstanjen, chief executive officer of CDI. 

The $240 million dollar investment will feature 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games, a 125-room hotel and a sportsbook.

“In the days ahead, we look forward to continuing our collaboration with local officials in Vigo County and the Indiana Gaming Commission as we work to turn our vision for the Queen of Terre Haute into a reality,” said Jason Sauer, senior vice president of corporate development for CDI.

If Kentucky legalizes casino gambling, Churchill Downs, which has brick-and-mortar casinos in eight states, is in a good position to secure licensing. 

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