Hard Rock International’s new land-based casino in Gary will open its doors to the public on May 14th. The announcement was made during Tuesday’s state Gaming Commission meeting.
Said Hard Rock International Chief Operating Officer John Lucas:
“We are extremely excited about the future in Indiana and working with the state, and the commission, and the local communities that we’ll be in. We anticipate a great partnership with Spectacle Entertainment, certainly [Spectacle Vice Chairman] Greg Gibson and I have worked very closely over the last year to move this thing forward. As Greg said, there’s certainly been a few speed bumps along the way, but we believe they’re behind us now.”
Few Speed Bumps
The most notable of the “speed bumps” Lucas was referring to was the filing of a case by the Indiana Gaming Commission against former chief executive officer and Spectacle Entertainment chair Rod Ratcliff for several acts of wrongdoings.
Among others, the IGC alleged that Ratcliff was part of a scheme to funnel corporate campaign funds to a congressional candidate in Indiana. Ratcliff was also accused of taking company money to fund his personal horse race betting account without reporting it, thus obstructing justice.
Ratcliff’s legal issues threatened to postpone the opening of the Hard Rock Gary casino because Hard Rock International and Spectacle Entertainment are partners in the project and in an upcoming casino known as Lucy Luck in Terre Haute. But after Ratcliff sold his Spectacle shares to Hard Rock and relinquished his gambling license, the IGC has given the project the green light to continue.
Important Projects for the City of Gary
IGC executive director Sarah Tait said that the conversion of the Gary casino from boat to land is an important project to the City of Gary and its people. Spectacle Entertainment vice chairman Greg Gibson said that the Gary casino project and the upcoming one in Terre Haute are worth half a billion dollars.
According to Gary mayor Jerome Prince, the construction of the Gary casino generated $52M in construction contracts awarded to Lake County companies, including $32M which went to contractors from Gary. Likewise, the construction of the casino has generated an extra 400 to 600 jobs in the city.
The Hard Rock in Indiana will be joining an already competitive casino market beyond the Illinois border within an hour’s drive from Chicago. It joins the Ameristar Casino in Eastern Chicago and and Horseshoe Hammond as entertainment and gaming options in the area.