GARY - The proposed $400 million Hard Rock Casino in Gary has cleared a key hurdle. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the Indiana Gaming Commission has approved the relocation and consolidation of the two Majestic Star Casinos into one land-based location in the Lake County city.

Indianapolis-based Spectacle Entertainment is developing the new casino, which is expected to employ some 1,800 workers when complete. Hard Rock will assume management of the casino.

Officials expect to break ground this year for the 225,000-square-foot casino, dining and entertainment spaces, and surface parking lots, according to the publication. The first phase is expected to be complete by the end of 2020. 

The second phase will include a hotel and parking garage with construction expected to commence in 2022 or 2023. The facility will be the state's first new land-based casino since the Tropicana Evansville moved inland in October 2017.

The commission also announced it has begun accepting proposals for a new casino in Vigo County. Our partners at WFYI report casino operators will have until December 1 to submit their proposals. However, before that deadline, voters in the county must approve a referendum on the November ballot authorizing the new casino.

Spectacle Entertainment acquired the two Majestic Star casino licenses earlier this year. One of the licenses will be used for the new Hard Rock casino, while the other will be used for the casino in Vigo County. However, per legislation passed this year by the Indiana General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb, Spectacle will still have to compete with other casino operators for the Vigo County license.