On Friday, the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana celebrated its grand opening. The $300 million casino opened its doors after a guitar smashing ceremony featuring members of the Jackson 5, Marlon, and Tito Jackson. The brothers call Gary home and were happy to be a part of the celebration.
Gary and the casino expect that business will increase as the new venue replaces the Majestic Star Casino, a riverboat gambling property that was in business for twenty-five years on the water.
New Hard Rock
Guests enter the new Hard Rock facility behind a huge guitar marquee, one that stands 37 feet tall. The guitar looks like one that was used by the Jackson 5 when they first started while living in Gary. The casino is home to many items of music memorabilia, which guests can enjoy while visiting.
The casino is home to a large gaming floor as well as a Hard Rock Live performance hall. The casino operator decided to fill the hall with slot machines for now, as the COVID-19 pandemic remains an issue when it comes to live events.
Once restrictions are eased, the Live venue will be able to house 1,950 people for events. It is expected that such events will begin by September or October.
The new casino came about after the relocation of the two Majestic Star Riverboat Casinos, both of which are owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The venues were converted into one land-based casino.
The groundbreaking of the casino took place in January 2020. Since that time, officials in Gary have looked forward to the opening as the property will help boost the local economy, something the northwest portion of Indiana needs.
A Difficult Road
Along the way to the grand opening, the property suffered from a few roadblocks. The opening was at risk due to a state investigation involving allegations of financial wrongdoing by the top executive of the casino developing firm. A $530,000 fine was imposed on Spectacle Entertainment, a company based in Indianapolis, and the developer of the property.
The company was asked by the Commission to see former CEO of the company, Rod Ratcliff sell his ownership stake in the Hard Rock venue. A deadline for this action to take place came and went and Ratcliff was still in place. The Commission took action against the company due to the delay and enforced the fine.
Ratcliff agreed two months ago to give up his Indiana casino license so that the project could move forward. The fine was paid and the casino was able to move ahead with the opening as scheduled.