Following a vote by the Indian Gaming Commission, the renewal of a gaming licence for a prospective Hard Rock casino in Terre Haute has been denied.
Hard Rock International and Lucy Luck Gaming signed a management deal for the Terre Haute Rocksino, a $125 million casino that will operate under the Hard Rock brand in Indiana, in May, despite delays and ownership changes.
Lucy Luck Gaming’s chairman, Greg Gibson, said: “The news we received today, although it wasn’t what we had anticipated or hoped for, isn’t the end of the journey. Lucy Luck Gaming has been prepared to begin construction on this project for months. We are in a position to hire our team, but at this time, we don’t have any gaming operations going on.”
The Gaming Commission noted that while the licence had been rejected, Lucy Luck would be allowed to reapply once it had secured financing, presented financial information about its partners, and appointed an appropriate structure – an option Gibson believes is unlikely – citing concerns that Lucy Luck had not hired anyone to run the casino a year and a half into the process.
He added: “We have worked tirelessly alongside many to bring this project to the Terre Haute community. We have developed our team, our finances, and detailed our operations to secure our licence.
“However, more importantly, Terre Haute has worked hard for this project. The citizens have worked hard for this project. I am deeply disappointed in what came from today’s meeting, and disappointed that a community who has fought and stood ready received such news.
“I believe in my community, and I believe in this project. As for Lucy Luck, we may reapply, but I’m not sure if we will.”
The casino’s construction was supposed to start in late June with the goal of opening in autumn 2022, but the commission postponed voting on the renewal because it needed to see more financial information from Lucy Luck’s partners first.
Gibson concluded: “We certainly have accomplished our original goal of bringing a gaming licence to Vigo County. The community can take solace in the fact that there will eventually be a gaming facility here. It truly saddens me to know that the Terre Haute licence will be open for a bidding process amongst companies who will be interested in the project solely for monetary gain, and with companies who don’t know our community like Lucy Luck does.
“For me, this project has always been about Terre Haute; it’s been about my home community. Terre Haute deserves this casino, and I wish it could be alongside Lucy Luck Gaming.”