Ready To Smash Some Guitars? Hard Rock Returns To Indiana

Posted on July 29, 2019 - Last Updated on September 20, 2019

The Hoosier State won’t be devoid of one of the most recognizable casino brands for much longer. Spectacle Entertainment will bring an Indiana Hard Rock Casino to the mix soon.

Spectacle’s decision to partner with Hard Rock has ramifications for the entire Chicago and northwest Indiana region.

Indiana Hard Rock Casino details

The new Gary casino is technically a relocation of the Majestic Star casino boats that Spectacle owns. The current construction estimate sits at $400 million.

The law allows for 2,764 gaming positions. That number makes it equal to any other in the state. When completed, it will end an absence of Hard Rock Casinos from the state. The Indianapolis Hard Rock closed in March.

Estimates for job creation include 1,000 temporary jobs related to the facility’s construction and 2,000 permanent jobs for operating the casino.

The new facility will house multiple bars and restaurants along with a concert venue. It will not include a hotel at this time, however, and may put it at a disadvantage.

Hard Rock counting on name recognition to attract Chicagoans

The new Chicago metro and Cook County casinos that have been authorized by the Illinois Legislature will be instant competition for the Gary Hard Rock when completed. It may even offer more amenities.

Illinois residents won’t have to travel as far to patronize those casinos. The Chicago venue will also feature 4,000 gaming positions.

Add the gaming choices to resort amenities like a hotel and spa, and the lure for Illinois residents to not cross the border gets stronger. Without some of those resort amenities that other casinos in the region could offer, the big draw for the Gary casino will be the name itself and the entertainment options it brings.

Chicagoans should be familiar with the brand because of the presence of a Hard Rock Cafe and hotel in the metro. While the hotel is no longer in operation under that name, the brand is still recognizable for most people.

Another thing that Hard Rock might use to lure Chicagoans is expanded Indiana sports betting.

A crucial sports betting advantage for Indiana

People from Illinois may be keen to take advantage of sports betting in Indiana since they can’t bet it at home.

Both states will offer legal sports betting long before the Gary Hard Rock opens. Indiana, however, allows bettors to wager on college sports, which remains illegal in Illinois.

That could push some Illinois residents to cross the border to Gary and take their sports betting dollars with them. While Spectacle hasn’t announced any plans to incorporate a sportsbook at its Gary location, it’s hard to imagine they will build a casino without one.

Whether it’s to enjoy the entertainment options that Hard Rock is known for, to bet on college sports or simply because of the name recognition, Hard Rock and Spectacle are betting $400 million that the new casino will be a success despite the prominence of competitors.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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