Hard Rock reiterates commitment to Gary Casino Project amid ongoing investigation into Spectacle Entertainment

Hard Rock reiterates commitment to Gary Casino Project amid ongoing investigation into Spectacle Entertainment

Amid ongoing investigation into Spectacle Entertainment, the Indianapolis-headquartered gaming company’s operating partner Hard Rock International has reaffirmed its dedication to the Gary Casino project.

Spectacle Entertainment faces an investigation from the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) in connection with its $300 million Gary Casino project, which is currently under construction. Undeterred by the investigation, Hard Rock International’s Chief Executive Officer (COO) Jon Lucas informed that his company remained committed to the under-construction casino project.

COO Lucas said in a statement that recent stories about Spectacle Entertainment don’t have any bearing on Hard Rock International’s dedication to the Gary community.

Reaffirming his company’s commitment, Lucas said, “We take integrity and compliance extremely seriously and are closely monitoring the situation in Northern Indiana. Recent stories pertaining to Spectacle Entertainment have no bearing on Hard Rock International’s commitment to the Gary community.”

He stressed that Hard Rock International was looking forward to opening the under construction gambling & entertainment facility in Gary 2021, as per previously announced schedule.

Lucas’ statement reiterating his company’s commitment to the Gary casino project comes around a week after a federal grand jury indicted John Keeler, Spectacle Entertainment’s vice president and general counsel, in connection with violations of election campaign financing rules.

The state gaming regulator launched its investigation into Spectacle Entertainment in January this year, around a couple weeks after the casino company and its partner company broke ground on the inland casino resort project in the northwest Indiana city of Gary just exterior of Chicago. The ongoing investigation is related to illegal campaign contributions by Centaur Gaming, which owned Indiana’s two racetracks before selling them to casino giant Caesars Entertainment around a two years ago. The allegedly illegal election campaign contributions were uncovered in an investigation conducted by federal authorities in 2015.

According to the federal investigators, campaign consultants for an Indiana congressional candidate devised a scheme with Keeler and an unidentified Centaur executive to submit bogus invoices to the gaming company. The money from those bogus bills was then used to repay contributors to the election campaign of Brent Waltz, the then-state lawmaker who sought the Republican nomination in the Fifth Congressional District of the state.

The under-construction $300 million Gary Casino project, which will result into shifting of the existing casino from Lake Michigan to an on-land location in the northwestern Indiana city, will cover 225,000-square-foot, featuring an attached hotel, parking garage, the region's second-largest casino, a state-of-the-art sports book along with numerous bars and restaurants.