Musicians and politicians joined casino executives for a star-studded, guitar-smashing, grand opening for the new $300m Hard Rock Northern Indiana Casino in Gary.
It is replacing the Majestic Star Casino that operated on Lake Michigan from Gary’s Buffington Harbor for the last 25 years. The expansive Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana is all on one level much like the Las Vegas casinos. The casino floor has 150,000 square feet dedicated to gaming, which includes blackjack, roulette, and craps, along with slot machines and video poker. There is a special baccarat area, an exclusive high limit room, Pai Gow poker and Spanish 21. It offers just shy of 1,600 slots, 80 gaming tables, restaurants, a theater and a live performance venue and is being heralded as the beginning of a promising future for the city.
Two members of the Jackson Five, the regions most famous family, were there to open the casino
Marlon Jackson, an original member of one of the music world’s most famous families, and a Gary native, said: “Get ready for the good times, Gary.”
His brother Tito added: “We’re ready to moonwalk back to success.”
They were joined in the customary guitar smash by Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray and Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy. Musicians Kym Mazelle, Crystal Taliefero and Deniece Williams, all of whom are Gary natives, also participated. Leading the smash were Hard Rock International COO Jon Lucas; Chairman Marcellus Osceola of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Matt Schuffert President, Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana.
Central to the Hard Rock experience is the world-famous Hard Rock memorabilia. The impressive 37-foot-tall guitar marquee at the entrance to the building is modeled after Joseph Jackson’s famous guitar that changed the world and was the start of the Jackson 5. Upon entering the casino, guests are greeted by a spectacular guitar chandelier artwork modeled after that same guitar.
Giovanni Taliaferro, director of Memorabilia Design for Hard Rock International, said: “This is a very iconic piece of memorabilia. They were very amenable to providing the artifacts.”
There are over 170 pieces of music memorabilia on display representing a wide range of genres. The Jackson family is central to the story given that they are Gary’s most famous family. There are more than thirty pieces of Jackson memorabilia, including Joe Jackson’s original guitar that started it all, outfits worn on stage by the Jacksons, Michael’s famous glove, THE red leather jacket from the Beat It video, one of the most iconic pieces of fashion in music history, Janet Jackson’s suit from her Velvet Rope tour and much more.
There are also objects from other artists that have connections to the Jacksons – including Lady Gaga, Eddie Van Halen, Elvis Presley, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Pharrel, Shakira and Fergie. In addition to the Jackson related memorabilia are items from other Gary, Indiana music icons including Jimmy Reed, Deniece Williams, Kym Mazelle, Crystal Taliefero, and Big Daddy Kinsey. Inside the Hard Rock Live venue pre-function is a Rock Vault exhibition space providing a tribute to the Jackson family. Each member of the family is represented with their own artifacts and stories. Guests will also learn some stories about their time inside their childhood home on 2300 Jackson Street.
State Senator, Eddie Melton, D-Gary, said: “Gary had some difficult days in the past. But with God there’s nothing we can’t accomplish and with a unified vision, there’s nothing and no one that can stand in our way.”