Two riverboat casinos in northwest Indiana will soon be under new ownership. Indianapolis-based Spectacle Entertainment, a newly-formed group led by the former chief executive officer of Centaur Holdings LLC, has announced plans to acquire Majestic Holdco LLC, which currently owns the Majestic Star and Majestic Star II casinos in Gary. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.
Rod Ratcliff is the former chairman and CEO of Centaur, which was acquired by Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corp. (Nasdaq: CZR) earlier this year. He and Spectacle Vice Chairman Greg Gibson, a Terre Haute businessman, are leading the acquisition, which not only includes the casino vessels at Buffington Harbor, but also a 300-room hotel, 2,000-space parking garage, and a pavilion.
"Spectacle’s acquisition of the two gaming licenses located in Gary presents a tremendous economic opportunity for the City of Gary as well as the State of Indiana," Ratcliff said in a news release. "We welcome the prospect of working with Gary and the General Assembly to maximize the value of these two licenses by allowing Buffington Harbor to become part of an intermodal hub, creating additional employment and increasing state and local tax revenues."
Earlier this year, an interim study committee at the Indiana Statehouse recommended a plan by the city of Gary to transform Buffington Harbor into an intermodal hub, which would force the Majestic Star casinos to move inland. John Keeler, general counsel for Spectacle, tells our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana the company hopes to use its second gaming license to build a casino in another community.
"Getting the boats out of Buffington Harbor and repositioning the licenses to a better commercial location is in everybody’s best interest," Keeler tells the publication. "We’re committed to leaving one license in Gary, (however) we would be open to anything that makes sense."
Other communities, including the city of Hammond, have expressed interest in acquiring Majestic’s second gaming license.
The acquisition remains subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019.