Hard Rock Casino statement: We had nothing to do with it
Tourists from Chicago wanting to gamble love to visit a small town by the name of Gary, 25 miles from downtown of the Windy City.
Hard Rock Hotels and Casino plan to build a $400 million Hard Rock Casino in Gary. This was unanimously approved by the City Council at a special meeting on Tuesday, August 27.
In the meantime, a story about tax fraud is surfacing. Hard Rock today issued a statement today: We’ve taken note of the recent headlines incorrectly associating Hard Rock with several individuals for alleged improprieties regarding land dealings in the city of Gary, where Hard Rock has expressed interest in building a world-class entertainment destination. Hard Rock has built a vast portfolio of gaming licenses in multiple states and countries around the world, due to adhering to our company values of honesty and integrity. While Hard Rock has no relationship with the individuals identified, we have turned this over to the Hard Rock Board compliance committee for further due diligence. We intend to proceed with the proposed site in Gary as we always have, by adhering and upholding only the highest standards and principles in our business dealings.”
Gary is adjacent to the Indiana Dunes National Park and borders southern Lake Michigan. Gary was named after lawyer Elbert Henry Gary, who was the founding chairman of the United States Steel Corporation
The deal would allow the Hard Rock developer Spectacle to move the Majestic Star casino near Interstate 80-94 and Burr Street, where it would be transformed into a 30-acre Hard Rock Casino entertainment complex that will include a 200-room hotel and one of the company’s signature cafés.
The new casino would create 650 new jobs and would feature 2,764 gaming positions, compared to 1,683 now at its two Majestic Star boats. Spectacle is paying the state $20 million to relocate the casino on land.
Spectacle wants to begin construction immediately to meet its goal of opening the Hard Rock Casino by the end of 2020.
Father and son’s alleged tax sale scheme to defraud Lake County out of at least $100,000 in property taxes is linked to land targeted for the city’s prized Hard Rock casino project, Lake Superior Court records allege.
One of the properties in question is 2800 Calhoun St. in Gary — smack dab in the middle of where Spectacle Entertainment will be constructing a $300 million casino starting this year at the corner of the Borman Expressway and Burr Street.
City leaders initially called for Spectacle to give Gary a $5 million loan upfront, but Spectacle’s owners hinted that may be a challenge. Spectacle’s owners said if the company can secure a loan, they can provide Gary with the loan, which would be repaid through casino revenue.
In addition to the 3 percent from casino revenue, Spectacle said it would pay an additional 3 percent of the revenue from sports betting from mobile bets.
Spectacle is also seeking a state license to open a casino in Terre Haute. The company hopes residents in Terre Haute, will pass a casino referendum on November 5. If voters approve, the state will take bids for the license. If Spectacle is given the opportunity to operate a casino in Terre Haute, it will provide Gary with 5 percent of adjusted gross receipts from that casino for 10 years.
If it wins the license to open a casino in Terre Haute, Keeler said Spectacle would honor previous 2018 LDA language and provide Gary with 0.5 percent of the adjusted gross receipts of the Terre Haute casino for 10 years.
Spectacle promised to give their “best-effort” to retain 40 percent minority vendors, 10 percent women and 5 percent veterans.