Developers release Indiana casino details

This is an artist’s rendering of the front of the proposed Hard Rock-themed “Rocksino” on Terre Haute’s east side. The site is on U.S. 40 and Indiana Route 46, not far from Interstate 70.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — A portion of Spectacle Jack LLC’s application for a Vigo casino sheds new light on the company’s proposed development if approved by the Indiana Gaming Commission.

A redacted copy of the casino license application — released to the Tribune-Star via a public records request filed with the gaming commission — details a 1,200-game casino complete with four restaurants, four bars, an enclosed, temperature-controlled walkway to the adjacent Home2Suites hotel and a provision for a future on-site hotel.

On Friday, the gaming commission announced it will host a Feb. 7 meeting at the Vigo County Public Library to consider the lone license application made by Spectacle Entertainment, parent company of Spectacle Jack. The time of the meeting is yet to be determined.

“It is our intention to consider the application for a casino owner’s license in Vigo County on that date,” said Sara Gonso Tait, executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission, via email.

The application spells out how the Rocksino at Terre Haute would be built on more than 25 acres at the southwest side of the intersection of Bill Farr Drive and Joe Fox Street, immediately south of the Walmart super center along U.S. 40/Indiana 46 on the east side of Terre Haute.

The preliminary plan calls for the casino to be built in the middle of the property with more than 1,500 parking spaces surrounding the building. The plan also notes a space dedicated for a “future hotel,” in a parking lot between the casino and Walmart.

The casino will feature four entrances:

• The center entrance would be the focal point of the building and will have a covered porte cochere (or roofed passage way) and valet parking;

• Two secondary entrances at the north and east sides of the building are oriented toward adjacent parking areas;

• A fourth entrance would be on the south side of the building with an enclosed, climate-controlled connection to the adjacent Home2Suites.

Upon entering the casino, the plan calls for guests to be greeted by a bifurcated gaming area, separated by the “yellow brick road” walkway running between the main entrance and the center bar.

The pair of gaming areas on either side of the walkway will have a mix of slot machines and table games. The plan, as submitted to the state, features 1,150 slot machines and 50 table games.

Around the perimeter of the gaming floor a number of amenities are planned, including:

• A Hard Rock Cafe, the centerpiece of the Hard Rock brand. The cafe is planned to have seating for 125 guests and feature the customary accouterments.

• A steakhouse, described as the casino’s fine dining option, with seating for 60.

• A buffet with seating for 175 guests.

• Hard Rock branded center bar and sportsbook. The “energetic space” is planned to seat 75 guests and is to be considered the center of activity for the casino floor, according to the application.

• A Hard Rock branded coffee shop, the Constant Grind, that serves up to 25 guests a variety of food, beverages and convenience items 24-hours a day.

• A 300-seat entertainment venue, Velvet Sessions, capable of hosting live music, comedy events and other events. The application says the space can be transformed to host any type of event from a poker tournament, to business event and meetings, to a cocktail reception or a wedding.

• A high limit lounge complete with a private bar and light snack service.

• A Rock Shop, Hark Rock’s gift shop, that will sell branded merchandise alongside snacks and sundries.

Overall, the building has an estimated maximum occupancy of 5,900 to serve the projected 1.2 million guests per year.

The proposed $125 million casino will be about 100,000 square feet and employ about 600 workers, Spectacle Vice President John Keeler told Vigo County officials in late November.

A construction timeline hasn’t been publicly announced, although a spring start seems likely.

After years of efforts, Terre Haute got a crack at a casino license in 2019. A sweeping gaming bill passed by the General Assembly allowed Spectacle Entertainment to move its pair of casinos from Buffington Harbor in Gary to a single inland location in Northwest Indiana.

The new law also opened a path for a casino license in Vigo County, which county residents gave their approval to in the November 2019 general election.

Spectacle Jack LLC filed the only application for a Vigo County casino as of the Dec. 2, 2019, deadline. Spectacle Jack is an outgrowth of Spectacle Entertainment, whose lead investors include Terre Haute businessman Greg Gibson and former Centaur Gaming CEO Rod Ratcliff.

Spectacle plans a groundbreaking Thursday for its new northwest Indiana casino, Hard Rock Casino of Northern Indiana.

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