Hard Rock, Spectacle Sign Letter of Intent to Franchise Hard Rock in Indiana

The $400 million project will feature multiple restaurants and bars, including a Hard Rock Café and Hard Rock Live concert venue for live entertainment.

Spectacle Entertainment would retain ownership of casinos in Indiana under the Hard Rock brand name.

Seminole Nation-owned Hard Rock International has signed a joint venture agreement with Indianapolis-based Spectacle Entertainment to adapt the Hard Rock brand for a casino set to open in Gary, Indiana — less than an hour drive to Chicago. Hard Rock will manage the Gary casino on Spectacle’s behalf. But that’s just the tip of the relationship.

Spectacle hopes to obtain franchise rights with Hard Rock, partnering with the international brand on a potential, new casino in Terre Haute, Indiana, to compete with forthcoming gaming attractions in Illinois. Last month, the Illinois legislature announced plans to permit six new casinos, including at locations in Danville, downtown Chicago and the south suburbs.

“That means the casino will be branded, so that is maybe akin to somebody having a McDonald’s franchise,” said John Keeler, attorney for Spectacle Entertainment, reported the Tribune Star. “We have a signed letter of intent. A big factor in this decision was the Illinois [gaming] legislation. The Illinois [gaming legislation] was water over the dam. We knew we had to do something to be super competitive.”

Spectacle Entertainment still needs to win the Terre Haute bid. Gary casino plans are underway. Originally slated for $300 million, the companies boosted the Gary casino investment to $400 million, opting to add multiple restaurants and bars, a Hard Rock Café and a concert venue, Hard Rock Live.

“Hard Rock is excited to partner with Spectacle Entertainment to create the first land-based gaming destination, bringing our world-class brand of entertainment to Northwest Indiana and the greater Chicago area,” said Jim Allen, Hard Rock International chairman and chief executive officer in a news release.