Spectacle Entertainment has entered into an agreement to obtain franchise rights from Hard Rock International for its proposed Terre Haute and Gary casino projects.
News about Hard Rock potentially entering Indiana’s casino market arrive shortly after the state’s Governor, Eric Holcomb, signed into law a comprehensive gambling expansion bill that, among other things, clears a path for the development of a new casino in Terre Haute and the relocation of two riverboat casinos in Gary, currently owned by Spectacle, into a single brick-and-mortar property.
Commenting on the matter, Spectacle attorney John Keeler told Terre Haute news outlet the Tribune-Star that the city’s new casino will be branded Hard Rock and that his company has signed a letter of intent with the Florida-based gaming and hospitality giant.
Keeler went on to explain that their decision to tap the major brand was largely prompted by the recently approved gambling expansion in neighboring Illinois. Gov. J.B. Pritzker last month rubber-stamped a sweeping gambling industry reform that authorizes the addition of six new casinos around Illinois, including in downtown Chicago and Danville. The city of Danville is located approximately 60 miles north of Terre Haute.
Keeler noted that Illinois’ gaming legislation “was water over the dam” and that they knew they “had to do something to be super competitive.”
Spectacle will retain ownership over the casinos in Terre Haute and Gary, but those will be branded Hard Rock. In addition, the Gary-based property will have its day-to-day operations managed by the Florida operator.
Under Indiana’s recently approved gambling expansion bill, the Terre Haute casino project needs approval from Vigo County voters before being able to move forward. Residents of the county will be able to state their opinion on the matter at a referendum on November 5’s municipal election.
If voters approve the development of a Las Vegas-style casino in Terre Haute, the Indiana Gaming Commission will have the final say on the winning bidder for the Vigo County license.
Keeler told local media that Spectacle has a long way to go as it first needs to win the bid. The company attorney added that the Hard Rock partnership will “really up the ante” in terms of “the quality of the product that we can put in Terre Haute.
While too early to reveal any solid plan on how the Terre Haute property would look, Keeler said that it would be “appropriately sized for the market” and will feature the traditional things that come with a Hard Rock-branded property including rock’n’roll memorabilia and a Hard Rock cafe.
Up until recently, the Florida-based company operated a cafe in the heart of Indianapolis, but shuttered it when its lease expired. However, it said that it was still interested in the Indianapolis market and would open a new facility if it finds the right location.
News about Hard Rock potentially entering the Indiana casino market arrive shortly after the company announced that it is interested in developing a casino in Rockford, Illinois. The company said last week that it would host a special event this coming Tuesday to reveal more details about its Rockford project.
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