Hard Rock Owners Need To Hit Crucial June 21 Deadline To Avoid Closures

Posted on June 17, 2021 - Last Updated on June 18, 2021

Indiana’s Hard Rock Casinos have a big week ahead of them.

Hard Rock Northern Indiana had its grand opening last month. The Hard Rock in Terre Haute is hoping to hold its groundbreaking ceremony by early July. However, each Hard Rock needs to renew its casino license next week.

That’s a formality for most operators, but it has turned into an uphill battle for the parent companies of the “Rocksinos.”

Companies resisting new gaming rule

A new rule from the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) is at the heart of the problem for both casinos. That rule requires casino owners to disclose financial background information. The idea is to get detailed information on gaming operators to help avoid potential scandals.

Spectacle Entertainment is running the show at Hard Rock Northern, with Lucy Luck Gaming holding the wheel at Terre Haute’s Rocksino. Greg Gibson is the majority owner of both companies.

Gibson is running things by the book, but the minority owners of Spectacle and Lucy Luck aren’t playing along. Those minority owners don’t think that they should have to follow the new rule.

Their argument rests on the idea that they’re just financial investors, and that they don’t have anything to do with the day-to-day casino operations.

Some of the Spectacle owners are actually suing the IGC to try and avoid the requirement.

However, it looks like those investors are out of time.

Spectacle Hard Rock needs license

Time is of the essence for Spectacle Entertainment.

The deadline for submitting that background info is June 21. The IGC has already extended that deadline once before.

Despite that, it’s a now or never situation for Hard Rock Northern Indiana. You can’t operate a casino without a license, and you can’t get a license unless you’re following the IGC’s rules.

If Hard Rock Northern can’t renew its license, then the brand-new casino will be sitting empty until Gibson could find a solution.

That would be a disaster for a casino that’s barely been open for a month.

If the minority owners don’t comply, then Spectacle will automatically repurchase their ownership stakes.

That would keep the casino open, but it would also make the ongoing legal battle a more complicated one.

Obviously, everyone is hoping to avoid the situation altogether.

Terre Haute Hard Rock Casino troubles

Indiana’s Hard Rock Casinos just can’t seem to get out of their own way.

Construction would have started on Terre Haute’s Hard Rock last year if not for the Spectacle Entertainment scandal. That situation delayed things for months.

So long in fact, that now Lucy Luck needs to refile the paperwork for the property.

Again, that’s usually a formality, but this is a Rocksino we’re talking about here. After a year and a half of never-ending problems, it would be a surprise at this point if things started going off without a hitch.

Just like its sister casino up north, the Hard Rock in Terre Haute needs to renew its license. And just like its sister casino up north, Lucy Luck’s minority owners are avoiding the IGC’s rules.

Both Spectacle and Lucy Luck have until June 21 to make those investors play ball.

If Lucy Luck fails, then the IGC won’t approve the casino’s funding.

Without that funding, the company won’t be able to start construction on the Rocksino.

Terre Haute’s casino hopes will officially be stuck in the mud.

IGC meeting will decide Hard Rock’s fate

It all comes down to the IGC’s meeting next week for Spectacle and Lucy Luck.

June 21 is the deadline for compliance with the rule, but the IGC’s meeting on June 24 is when the action will actually take place.

Assuming that both companies hit the deadline, the commission will likely renew both casino licenses and approve Terre Haute’s funding at that meeting.

That would leave Hard Rock Northern operating without closures and keep Terre Haute on track for its groundbreaking date.

Things are going to get messy if either company misses the June 21 deadline.

Needless to say, it’s likely going to be a long weekend for Gibson, Spectacle, and Lucy Luck.

Gibson has been offering buyouts to the minority owners to try and get the ball rolling.

Hopefully that will resolve the situation in time. If not, then Indiana’s Hard Rock Casinos could find themselves in hot water by this time next week.

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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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