December 20, 2021 Casino, Legal, Land Based

Full House Resorts sues Indiana Gaming Commission amid Churchill Downs casino plans

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Full House has argued that the awarding of a Vigo County license to Churchill Downs should be invalidated.

Full House Resorts, which operates five casinos in Mississippi, Indiana, Nevada and Colorado, has commenced legal action against the Indiana Gaming Commission. Full House contests that the decision, made on November 17, to award Churchill Downs a Vigo County casino license should be invalidated.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Indianapolis’ Marion County Superior Court 2, suggests the decision should be void because the state's Open Door Law, which says: “A governing body may not conduct an executive session during a meeting,” was broken.

“Without any public debate, comment, discussion or explanation, the Commission voted to deny Full House’s application and grant Churchill’s application,” argues the complaint.

Moreover, Full House has posited that Churchill Down’s proposed casino project is unviable when compared to its property, highlighting its proximity to a freeway, a county jail and a sewage treatment site.

“The nature of a sewage treatment plant in such close proximity to a public entertainment venue is counter-intuitive to any prudent, rational individual; the same can be said for locating an entertainment venue near a county jail.”

Conversely, the operator's complaint went to great lengths to highlight the virtues of its own, 100,000 square foot, $250m American Place casino, stating: “Full House spent great time and expense to secure a highly visible site that approximately 11 million cars pass annually. Full House’s destination complex was designed to essentially be a billboard to the millions of cars that drive by its site.”

Lastly, the lawsuit claims that Churchill Down’s attempt to include a second property in its proposal also makes the application illegal.

Churchill Down’s proposal, named the Queen of Terre Haute, features a 125-room hotel and said it would create over 1,500 jobs, 500 of which would be permanent. Similar to the Full House offering it is set to have 1,000 slot machines and 50 table games and includes a TwinSpires branded sportsbook.

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