Majestic Star Casino to get massive makeover with global, iconic brand
Crusader Staff Report
Hard Rock International, one of the world’s iconic global brands will transform the Majestic Star Casinos in Gary’s Buffington Harbor into a $400 million casino and entertainment complex. Four months after the sale of the struggling casino to Spectacle Entertainment, it will be rebranded as the Hard Rock Gary Casino.
Last weekend, Spectacle Entertainment announced that it struck a big deal that is being viewed as a huge step in reviving Gary’s economy and image.
The new complex will open in 2022 adjacent to the Borman Expressway at Burr Street and 29th Avenue. In addition to a Hard Rock casino, it will include a Hard Rock Café, a Hard Rock Live concert venue, restaurants, and bars on 40 acres.
The Hard Rock Casino will have up to 2,764 gaming positions, according to a news release. The Majestic Star’s boats currently combine to hold 1,620 slot machines and 63 table games. Horseshoe Hammond, Indiana’s largest casino, located about six miles west of Gary, features 2,173 slots and 150 table games.
Spectacle Entertainment will pay $20 million to the state to relocate the casino on land.
The project is expected to create more than 1,000 construction jobs and about 2,000 casino jobs.
The casino will employ approximately 2,000 workers, more than double the 800 current employees at the two Majestic Star casino boats, which Spectacle purchased in March.
“We’re confident this $400 million investment will serve as a significant catalyst for the continued economic revitalization of northwest Indiana and the City of Gary,” Spectacle Entertainment CEO Rod Ratcliff said in the release.
Jim Allen, Hard Rock International Chairman and CEO, said “Hard Rock is excited to partner with Spectacle Entertainment to create the first land-based gaming destination, bringing our world-class brand of entertainment to Northwest Indiana and the greater Chicago area.”
“A brand like Hard Rock International is indeed transforming for gaming in Gary and Northwest Indiana, but more importantly, the Hard Rock supports the economic development vision for our city, the region and Buffington Harbor,” said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson
Hard Rock last March, closed its restaurant in downtown Indianapolis that operated for 20 years. Chicago has had a Hard Rock café since 1986.
Founded as a trendy rock themed restaurant in London in 1971, Hard Rock International has since expanded to include hotels, casinos and music venues across the globe. Most of Hard Rock facilities are located in major cities, making the impending complex in Gary an extraordinary achievement.
There are 12 established or under construction Hard Rock casinos in the country. They include Atlantic City, New Jersey; Biloxi, Mississippi; Hollywood and Tampa, Florida; Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas, Nevada; Sacramento, California; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Sioux City, Iowa; Ottawa and Vancouver, Canada; and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Hard Rock’s growth into Indiana comes just three months after the company announced it would purchase a Cincinnati casino and a Northern Kentucky racetrack.
The company acquired JACK Cincinnati Casino and Turfway Park for $780 million from Jack Entertainment LLC. The transactions still must be approved by regulators in Ohio and Kentucky.