Hard Rock Ends Indiana Casino Debacle By Purchasing Spectacle Entertainment

From now on, Hard Rock International will be in charge of operations at the Hard Rock Casino in Gary, Indiana.

Spectacle Entertainment has been overseeing operations at the casino up until this point.

Thanks to the ongoing fallout from the Spectacle Entertainment scandal, Hard Rock International is now assuming full control of the property.

At its recent meeting, the change was approved by the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC).

Spectacle Entertainment is purchased by Hard Rock.

Ever since the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana project commenced, Spectacle has been the cause of various issues.

Allegations of involvement in a political money funneling scheme by some of Spectacle’s former executives led to their forced resignation by the IGC.

The enforced resignation resulted in additional obstacles. To prevent similar scenarios in the future, the IGC implemented new regulations.

The new rules started requiring Indiana casino owners to reveal detailed financial background information.

The IGC argued that comprehensive background checks could prevent future financial controversies. However, the casino owners had a different perspective.

A few minority owners of Spectacle attempted to sue the IGC to reverse the rule, however, a judge ultimately sided with the commission.

The minority owners were left with two options: to divulge their financial information or to sell their company shares. They opted to sell their shares.

It was logical for Hard Rock International to buy out the Spectacle shares since they were already a major partner in the Gary Casino.

Hard Rock currently holds a minimum of 85% ownership in Spectacle Entertainment and is the sole company with the authority to determine the casino’s future.

The casino, which couldn’t renew its license in June due to non-compliant minority owners, has managed to solve some of its major problems.

Taking everything into account, Hard Rock is likely glad to be rid of Spectacle’s issues. The partnership didn’t quite meet Hard Rock’s expectations when their casino collaboration started.

While the situation may finally be stabilizing for Gary’s Hard Rock Casino, its sister property in Terre Haute still has some issues to resolve.

Issues with Hard Rock Casino in Terre Haute

The Hard Rock Casino in Terre Haute continues to have its own issues to resolve.

Also in June, Lucy Luck Gaming, the parent company of the property, did not renew its casino license. This was due to the company’s inability to assemble a management team, even after a whole year, causing Lucy Luck to fall short.

Why did it take them so much time? The rule related to financial background had its role in it.

Similar to Spectacle’s minority owners, the smaller owners of Lucy Luck also didn’t want to provide their background information.

The entire procedure has extended beyond a year and a half thus far, causing significant delays for the Terre Haute casino. The original plan was to inaugurate the casino in the fall of 2021.

The IGC deemed this delay as unacceptable, ultimately resulting in Lucy Luck being removed entirely from the project.

The Hard Rock brand remains engaged in the Terre Haute casino, which is yet to be constructed. However, with Lucy Luck no longer involved, a new partner is required to manage the building.

The IGC is accepting applications from new companies until Sept. 22.

Lucy Luck still has the option to reapply for her previous position. However, there isn’t any assurance that the IGC will reinstate her.

There’s also a possibility that Hard Rock will duplicate its move from Gary and simply operate the casino independently.

Jon Lucas, the COO of Hard Rock, informed the IGC that they are prepared to honor their agreement in Terre Haute, potentially taking over, if necessary.

The IGC is set to reconvene soon after the September deadline, so we should have a comprehensive understanding of the commission’s intentions for the Indiana casino in the near future.

Photo by Associated Press
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza, a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media, has a specialization in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Before he delved into the legal gambling industry, he was a professional sports writer, where he reported on teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, and Indiana Pacers. Currently, Garza holds the position of Managing Editor for Play Indiana and PlayOhio. He has also worked with other renowned brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. Since 2019, Garza has been reporting on the gambling industry, collaborating with a team of fellow journalists to deliver in-depth coverage of the lawful U.S. gambling sector.

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