The Hard Rock Casino In Northern Indiana Finally Announces Opening Date

Posted on March 23, 2021

Gary’s new Hard Rock Casino will be opening for business on May 14 at 5 p.m.

The “Rocksino” was originally looking at a New Year’s Eve 2020 grand opening, but a number of things delayed the process.

Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana

The new Rocksino will replace the two aging Majestic Star riverboat casinos.

This project has been a long time coming for the Gary area.

The Hard Rock Casino in Northern Indiana is a 200,000 square foot building that will feature over 1,600 slot machines and 80 table games.

That’s in addition to a 2,000-seat entertainment area and potential spots for restaurants.

Spectacle Entertainment broke ground on the project back in January 2020. The remaining members of the Jackson Five even made an appearance.

Since then, it’s been a rollercoaster of a journey to get actually get things up and running.

Coronavirus and thieves delay Hard Rock Indiana opening

COVID-19 threw a wrench into Hard Rock’s original plans for the Rocksino.

Construction had to grind to a halt at the beginning of the pandemic. With workers at home instead of on-site, the entire project was on pause for a number of weeks.

Unfortunately, thieves took advantage of the situation.

They broke into containers storing construction equipment and stole over $25,000 worth of concrete cutters, sweepers, generators and other tools.

That delayed things even further, since all of the equipment had to be replaced before construction could resume.

Even after the project got back underway, some trouble with the casino’s parent company presented yet another bump in the road.

Spectacle Entertainment Hard Rock scandal

Spectacle Entertainment, the Rocksino’s parent company, found itself in some hot water last year.

The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) found ties between one of Spectacle’s executives and a political money laundering scheme.

That executive’s name is Rod Ratcliff, and he didn’t exactly cooperate with the IGC’s handling of the situation.

The commission tried to remove Ratcliff from Indiana’s gaming industry, which would have forced him to sell off his shares of Spectacle Entertainment.

Ratcliff refused to comply with the order, and sued the IGC to try and reverse things.

That entire situation dragged on for months.

Eventually, the IGC had to temporarily halt the Hard Rock casino project until it could resolve the situation.

The gaming commission eventually reached a settlement with Ratcliff, which let the Rocksino project continue as planned.

Hard Rock Casino Chicago area

Now that things are finally cleared up, the casino will be able to open without any problems.

That’s a huge win for workers at Majestic Star.

If the legal battle had taken more time, those casino employees could have gone without work until it was resolved.

The new Rocksino could have been sitting empty due to the legal problems, but thankfully that’s a situation that never came to pass.

With the Hard Rock’s grand opening on May 14, Indiana’s latest and greatest casino building will be ready to serve gamblers in Gary and the Chicago area for years to come.

The Hard Rock’s sister property in Terre Haute is moving along as well. At a recent IGC meeting, the group announced the Terre Haute project will break ground sometime in April.

Hopefully it is smooth sailing for that property.

Photo by Dreamstime
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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