Terre Haute casino one step closer to groundbreaking

·3 min read

May 18—Hard Rock International and Lucky Luck Gaming have reached a management agreement for a new Terre Haute Rocksino, a step the Indiana Gaming Commission sought prior to considering the casino's license renewal this month.

"Hard Rock and Lucy Luck have come to terms and have already signed a management agreement for the Terre Haute Rocksino," Greg Gibson, chairman of Lucy Luck Gaming, told the Tribune-Star.

Hard Rock International, a company owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, is operator and part owner of the new Gary casino in conjunction with Spectacle Entertainment. Hard Rock will also manage the Terre Haute casino. Gibson is also vice president of Spectacle Entertainment.

Gibson said there is "no definite groundbreaking date set yet for Terre Haute. We are working with the Indiana Gaming Commission on our annual license renewal and approval of a finance plan, so that we will be in a position to break ground as soon as possible," Gibson said.

The Gaming Commission in March told Gibson it sought to have a management agreement in place before it considered an annual license renewal for Vigo County at its May 25 meeting.

In March, Gibson told the Gaming Commission that, "We've landed a financing package with five Indiana banks that will bring additional economic value to the project, something that many told us we couldn't accomplish. I'm really excited that we'll be able to work with five financial institutions based in our home state to complete the Terre Haute facility."

Lucy Luck plans a 100,000-square-foot, $125 million casino to be operated under the Hard Rock International brand and called the Rocksino. By way of a wagering tax and supplemental wagering tax, a Terre Haute casino is projected to generate more than $7 million for local governments and for business development.

"We believe that the construction of the Rocksino will take about 14 months from start to finish," Gibson said. "It's probably unlikely that we would work around the clock, but we will certainly have an incentive to complete the construction as soon as economically feasible."

The Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana opened to the public last week, opening with a guitar-smashing ceremony. That casino has a large lighted guitar on the interior ceiling.

Gibson said he has not yet seen a final design for the interior of the Terre Haute Rockino.

"We are sure hoping for later June," Gibson said of a project start date. "Hard Rock has told the Indiana Gaming Commission they want to get started before the end of June. That said, I hate to say it, because we've had to back up so much already," Gibson said.

"After witnessing the excitement experienced in Gary last week at the Hard Rock Northern Indiana opening, I'm looking forward to that same excitement right here in Terre Haute for the Rocksino," Gibson said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.

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