The Crusader Newspaper Group

Hard Rock Casino Gary to be built in two phases

Casino to open first followed by a hotel and parking garage

Crusader Staff Report

The proposed $400 million new Hard Rock Casino Gary will be built in two phases. The casino will open by 2021 and it will be connected to a hotel and parking garage, both of which will be built later, according to news reports this week.

Those features will make the region’s proposed second largest casino a full fledge entertainment mecca. When fully completed, the massive complex will have a string of bars and restaurants, including a Hard Rock Café and Hard Rock Live, a music performance venue.

The new casino complex will replace the struggling Majestic Star casino, which Spectacle Entertainment purchased earlier this year. Two weeks ago, Spectacle Entertainment announced that it struck a deal with Hard Rock International to rebrand the facility with the iconic global name.

Spectacle Entertainment officials told the Gary Plan Commission Tuesday, July 23 that Hard Rock International hopes to transform the Majestic Star casino to a land-based facility with the Hard Rock Casino brand by Dec. 31, 2020. The hotel and parking facility will be built two to three years later.

“We originally envisioned to do that all in one fell swoop, but then along came Illinois and that sort of set us back on our heels a little bit. But we’re committed to this project and committed to doing it in two phases,” John Keeler, Spectacle vice president and general counsel said.

Keeler said Illinois’ new comprehensive gaming law that would put casinos in Chicago and South suburban Cook County was a factor in Hard Rock’s decision to open a casino complex in Gary.

“That partnership was dictated by what happened in Illinois,” Keeler said. “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.”

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