After Indiana updated state law in May to allow an inland casino in Gary, recent news shows our neighbors are one step closer to the completion of their casino dreams. Hard Rock Casino Gary will open in two phases, starting December 31st, 2020, after recently partnering with Spectacle. The new casino and subsequent hotel will constitute a permanent land-based replacement for Spectacle’s two Majestic Star casinos on Lake Michigan.
Spectacle Entertainment’s plans to build a $400 million Hard Rock Casino in Gary were unanimously approved by the City Council at a special meeting on Tuesday, August 27th.
The deal, approved by the council with a decisive 9-0 vote, allows Spectacle to move its Majestic Star casino to land, near Interstate 80-94 and Burr Street. Basically, this will create a 30-acre Hard Rock Casino entertainment complex, including a 200-room hotel. One of the company’s signature cafés will be built there.
Good news for the Indiana job market
The new casino brings good news for Indiana’s job searchers. The gaming and entertainment enterprise would create 650 new jobs. The two Majestic Star boats floating on Lake Michigan there are 1,683 gaming positions; the new on-land casino would feature 2,764. Construction is supposed to begin immediately, according to Spectacle, who wants the Hard Rock Casino to be operational by the end of 2020.
Two to three years after the casino opens, construction will begin on a hotel and onsite parking facility for casino guests. The project will employ twice as many people as Spectacle’s current Majestic Star casinos, according to the Journal-Review in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Spectacle says “best efforts” will be made to employ 40 percent minority vendors, 10 percent women and 5 percent veterans.
Plans approved by the Indiana Gaming Commission, August 28th
Spectacle is paying the state $20 million to relocate the casino to land. During the Tuesday meeting, Spectacle agreed to give the city 3 percent of the casino’s adjusted gross receipts; those revenues can’t be less than $6.15 million. Spectacle’s vice president and general counsel John Keeler said in one news report that revenue higher than $6.15 million will go towards a community development fund for charity.
The plan then went before the Indiana Gaming Commission, which approved the move of the Gary inland casino on Wednesday, August 28th.
Spectacle also wants to open a casino in Terre Haute and is requesting a state license to do so. The company hopes terre haute residents will pass a casino referendum on November 5. If voters approve, the state will take bids for the license. Gaming Commission Executive Director Sara Tait says casino operators have until Dec. 1 to submit proposals for the Vigo County facility. If Spectacle wins the license to open a casino in Terre Haute, Keeler said that casino would provide Gary with 0.5 percent of its adjusted gross receipts for 10 years.
The new casino in Indiana will be “top of the line”
Spectacle Entertainment has revealed preliminary drawings of its proposed Hard Rock Casino Gary to city planners. According to The Times of Northwest Indiana, the developers said the facility will be “top of the line.” The Hard Rock Casino Gary will have 225,000-square-feet with 2,764 gaming positions, restaurants, bars, a Hard Rock Cafe, and a live concert venue-Hard Rock Live.
The plans reveal truly amazing features. As visitors enter the casino, they will pass a large, neon-lit guitar, a signature icon of Hard Rock properties. As players pass through the center of the casino, they will encounter numerous table games and slot machines. According to Spectacle Entertainment, the new casino will include numerous bars and restaurants all around it, one of which will be a Hard Rock café.
Rich Ziegler, Spectacle vice president of development, says the new venue will be “first quality all the way. The architects and interior designers have done an outstanding job, and we’re very excited.”
The back of the casino, which will face the expressway, will largely duplicate the front, to convince visitors to leave the highway and enter the premises.
Spectacle Entertainment’s Indiana casino strategy – a competition for Chicago’s plans
Hard Rock’s interest in developing the new Gary casino and hotel is mostly attributed (according to nwitimes.com) to the competition Chicago’s plans for a big casino brings in the Midwest.
“That partnership was dictated by what happened in Illinois,” Keeler said, according to the nwitimes.com story. “We felt if we were going to be able to compete in Gary and put out a first-class product — really attract people to our facility — we needed to partner with the gold standard, with the Rolls Royce if you will, in the casino gaming industry. And that’s why we’ve partnered with Hard Rock, who will manage and brand this casino.”