Spectacle Targets Late 2020 Opening for Gary Casino Despite Delays
Spectacle Entertainment has secured the final approvals it needed from the Indiana Gaming Commission to commence construction on a $400 million casino complex in Gary.
The casino operator hopes to break ground on the facility in the coming weeks and to launch it by the end of 2020.
Earlier this week, the Indiana Gaming Commission reauthorized the combination and relocation of Spectacle’s two operational Majestic Star casino boats from Lake Michigan to a 30-acre site near Borman Expressway in Gary.
The relocation of the casino boats on dry land was authorized by Indiana lawmakers as part of a sweeping gambling reform passed over the summer. Under the recently approved gambling legislation, Spectacle would be able to use one of its casino boat licenses to operate the proposed Gary brick-and-mortar casino.
The company will have to surrender the other Majestic Star casino license to state regulators, but will be able to bid for it and build a casino in Terre Haute.
Spectacle partnered Florida gaming and hospitality powerhouse Hard Rock International to jointly build and operate the Gary casino complex as well as a Rocksino in Terre Haute.
On Tuesday, the Indiana Gaming Commission also authorized Hard Rock’s proposed acquisition of a minority ownership stake in the Gary casino.
Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana
Spectacle’s Gary property will operate as Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana. It will feature a casino with slot machines and table games, a sportsbook, a Hard Rock Cafe, a 2,000-seat Hard Rock Live event venue, and several dining outlets and bars.
Spectacle Vice President and General Counsel John Keeler said this week that the company is also on track to secure approximately $400 million in financing for the casino on Friday. The operator was on the verge of closing on the necessary financing for the project in August, but withdrew its request for approval from the Indiana Gaming Commission due to a number of factors.
Mr. Keeler explained back then that their lenders “were naturally skittish” and needed a bit more time to put things together. One of the reasons that prompted the delay in closing the financing deal was competition from potential new casinos in Chicago and south suburban Cook County.
Similarly to Indiana, Illinois lawmakers approved this summer a massive gambling expansion package that, among other things, authorized six new casinos around the state.
Spectacle’s Gary casino is planned to open doors in December 2020. However, Mr. Keeler said that the financing delay could result in a delay in the casino’s opening. It could thus be launched in the early months of 2021.
The two Majestic Star casino boats will remain operational at Buffington Harbor in Gary until one month before the opening of the land-based casino.
Mr. Keeler said that they have already started moving dirt from the casino site and that they have ordered the steel for the project. They expect to soon pour the foundation for the complex.
Source: Construction set to begin on new land-based casino in Gary, The Times of Northwest Indiana