Full House Takes Its Case for $250M Terre Haute Casino to Local Residents
Posted on: October 21, 2021, 09:14h.
Last updated on: October 23, 2021, 11:00h.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Representatives from Full House Resorts held a public meeting Thursday regarding its casino proposal for Vigo County, Ind. The goal was to tout what it would bring to the west central community if the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) picks its application for the casino license next month.
The Las Vegas-based gaming company showed off its plan for American Place Casino, a $250 million resort. The complex would also feature a four-star hotel at the Idle Creek Banquet Hall, located just outside of the town and about five miles from where Full House wants to build.
“There have been way too many secrets,” said Alex Stolyar, Full House’s senior vice president and chief development officer. “Not the fault of any leaders at the state or local level, but just the way this process has kind of unfolded. There’s been a lot of unanswered questions.”
For example, Stolyar said that published proposal information did not indicate where the other bidders planned to put their casino. The IGC eventually published that information on its website last week.
Full House is one of four companies that have submitted an application for the license. The commission is scheduled to select a winner at a Nov. 17 meeting.
Full House Gets Second Chance at Terre Haute
Stolyar told the audience that Full House was the first company to pursue a casino license for Terre Haute. Back in 2017, it pushed for legislation to do just that, but a tie vote in a committee derailed that effort.
However, he said that the company learned from that effort and applied that to its proposal. Among the key takeaways was a four-star hotel, an amenity Stolyar said was not currently available in the area.
A four-star hotel would provide guests with around-the-clock room service, evening turndown service, and a spa, offerings that local limited-service hotels currently do not offer.
Full House is getting a second crack at Terre Haute because the 2019 expanded gaming bill included a provision for that casino, which Vigo County voters backed by a large margin in a November 2019 referendum.
However, when the application period first opened after the vote, only one company – Spectacle Entertainment – placed a bid. Spectacle previously held the license that was being moved to Terre Haute.
We looked at it very carefully,” Stolyar told Casino.org after the meeting. “We looked at it every which way, and at the end of the day, we did not feel like we could succeed with the application.”
An IGC investigation into officials with Indianapolis-based Spectacle led to a revised proposal that was led by Terre Haute businessman Greg Gibson. While the commission approved Gibson’s company for the license in May 2020, the panel declined to renew it in June 2021 after Gibson failed to make progress on the project.
Indiana Gaming Commission Seeks Public Input
While Full House is seeking to win support from the locals, officials in Vigo County and Terre Haute are siding with Hard Rock, which has brought in Gibson as a minority investor in the project.
Even as those elected officials have submitted letters of support for Hard Rock, Full House leaders urged residents to submit their own. On Wednesday, the IGC said it would accept written comments.
Comments can be emailed to: VigoCoCasinoProjectComments@igc.IN.gov and must be submitted by 4:30 pm ET on Nov. 12. The commission will not have time for public comments at the Nov. 17 meeting.
While Terre Haute area officials have put their chips on Hard Rock, that does not necessarily mean the IGC will choose the Florida-based company’s bid. Stolyar said Full House is hopeful that the IGC will consider that his company’s bid has included many of the items local officials said they wanted.
At $250 million, no other bidder is seeking to invest as much in the community.
“We hope it helps that we’re proposing the biggest and most elaborate project,” he said.