Advocates Applaud Churchill Downs Breaking Ground on Indiana’s First Casino to Open Smokefree

June 21, 2022


Terre Haute, IN— Today, advocates celebrated the groundbreaking of the Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort, Indiana’s first casino property to open 100% smokefree. When open, the Queen of Terre Haute will become the third smokefree casino in the state, joining French Lick Casino and Four Winds South Bend which adopted smokefree policies during the pandemic.

“We congratulate Churchill Downs for breaking ground on the first casino in Indiana to open 100% smokefree, the Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort,” said Bronson Frick, Director of Advocacy at Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR). “Churchill Downs has a strong record of successfully operating numerous smokefree gaming properties. We applaud their commitment to prioritizing the health and safety of their guests and employees in Indiana. Today would not have been possible without the years of work from smokefree and public health advocates who have long urged lawmakers and businesses to implement smokefree policies for a healthier Virgo County.”

"Chances And Services for Youth (CASY) and Tobacco Free Vigo County are proud of the commitment our community stakeholders, elected officials, and Churchhill Downs have made to ensure Vigo County residents may enjoy smoke-free workplaces and venues,” said Brandon Halleck, COO of CASY. "To reduce the impact tobacco use has on our children, we must continue to protect smoke-free air ordinances and educate the public about the dangers of secondhand smoke to ensure our children grow up safe and healthy."

Last year, ANR sent a letter to the Indiana Gaming Commission urging the commission to weigh whether the casino would operate smokefree as they considered granting a gaming license for Vigo County.

This July marks a decade since Terre Haute passed the 100% smokefree workplace, restaurant and bar law. As a result of the clean air law, Terre Haute has experienced: 

  • Air quality increased 70% in venues that had previously allowed smoking
  • Air quality met the highest standards by the EPA after venues went smoke-free
  • Lung cancer mortality rates decreased by 18%

Last week, the Associated Press reported on a new study that shows conventional wisdom about the economic impact of going smokefree indoors has been flipped. Experts from Las Vegas-based C3 Gaming published an independent study finding that smokefree casinos outperform their competitors that allow smoking indoors and predicted that guests were unlikely to abandon casinos that get rid of smoking inside. 

Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar laws. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit and