Indiana gaming regulators approve riverboat casino moves to dry land


It’s now official. Indiana’s riverboat casinos, the Majestic Star I and the Majestic Star II, are going to possibly be dry-docked or sold. The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) held a vote yesterday on whether or not Spectacle Entertainment, the owner of the floating casinos, should be able to head for dry land, ultimately deciding that it had spent enough time on the water. Next up, a possible casino in Terre Haute.

indiana-gaming-regulators-approve-riverboat-casino-moves-to-dry-landAccording to the Indianapolis Business Journal, Spectacle has been pushing to move to dry land for several years. Governor Eric Holcomb brought the dream a little closer to reality earlier this year when he authorized an expanded gambling bill, part of which gives Spectacle the approval for its $300-million Gary casino. However, the governor only facilitated the opportunity; the IGC ultimately needed to greenlight the project.

With the approval now in place, Spectacle can move forward with its Hard Rock-tied venue. The company wants to have one Hard Rock venue in Gary and another in Terre Haute, but the latter is going to have to wait for now. It’s possible that construction on the Gary property could begin next month.

The venue will be built in phases, according to Spectacle General Counsel John Keeler. He explained the project to the IGC yesterday, saying that the first phase is going to include the 25,000-square-foot casino, while the second phase will add a 200-room hotel and parking facility.

By the time everything is done, the property is expected to offer as many as 2,764 gaming positions, as well as a number of eateries and entertainment options. As anyone would expect, it will be home to both a Hard Rock Café and a Hard Rock Live concert hall.

If construction is able to stay on track – which would be a rarity – the venue could be ready by the end of next year, just in time to celebrate New Year 2021. It would be a boost to the local area, and IGC board member Joseph Svetanoff stated, “I’m extremely excited about what the future holds for this project.”

A Terre Haute casino is having to wait for a couple of reasons. A license was made available for a venue in the area, but even Spectacle would have to submit an application and go through the entire process just like any other company. Terre Haute is located in Vigo County and a casino can’t be authorized unless the area’s residents approve. They won’t be able to let their choices be known until a public vote is held this coming November.