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Guitar smash marks birth of Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana

The traditional Hard Rock guitar smash takes place for the opening of the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana on May 14, 2021, in Gary, Indiana. In the front row at far left are Chairman Marcellus W. Osceola Jr. and Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola. In the back row at the far right are Jackson 5 brothers Tito and Marlon Jackson. (Photo Hard Rock)

Seminole Tribe Chairman Marcellus W. Osceola Jr., Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola, Hard Rock and local officials, and a slew of famous musicians gathered in Gary, Indiana, May 14 and May 15 to open a new casino.

The Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana, located 30 miles from Chicago, celebrated its grand opening with a weekend’s worth of events. The traditional guitar smash featured 20 participants, including Chairman Osceola, Councilman Osceola, casino president Matt Schuffert and brothers Tito and Marlon Jackson of the Jackson 5.

“We love the opportunity to change lives,” Chairman Osceola told the crowd. “We created another 700 jobs here with this facility. When the second phase comes up, we’ll create even more jobs for more people and their families, and the countless secondary jobs that are created…”

Chairman Marcellus W. Osceola Jr. is interviewed by Chicago TV station ABC7 during the grand opening of the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana on May 14, 2021, in Gary, Indiana. (Image via ABC7)

The first comments from Gary Mayor Jerome Prince at the ceremony were directed to Chairman Osceola and Councilman Osceola.

“Thank you to you and your tribe for everything that you’ve done for the city and everything that you’ll do in the future,” he said.

The $300 million casino includes a huge gaming space, five restaurants, an onsite sports book, retail shop and a 1,954-seat Hard Rock Live performance venue. The 150,000-square-foot casino floor has blackjack, roulette, craps, slot machines and video poker. There is also a special baccarat area and a high limit room.

Jackson 5 memorabilia – the group also includes brothers Jackie, Jermaine and Michael – are featured throughout the property. The memorabilia features outfits worn on stage by family members, including Janet Jackson’s suit from her Velvet Rope tour, Michael’s iconic glove and the red leather jacket from the “Beat It” music video – one of the most recognizable pieces of fashion in music history. The Jackson collection totals more than 30 pieces. The Jackson’s childhood home is located just miles from the casino.

The iconic red jacket from Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video is on display on the gaming floor at Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in Gary, Indiana. Beside it are his famous Swarovski crystal glove and his Florsheim Imperial shoes. (Photo Guy Rhodes)

In all, there are more than 170 pieces of music memorabilia on display representing a wide range of musical genres.

The casino also features a 37-foot-tall guitar marquee outside the entrance, which is modeled after one of (father) Joseph Jackson’s guitars, as well as a unique guitar chandelier that guests see upon entering the casino.

Phase two is expected to include a hotel and parking garage.

The Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana is located at 5400 West 29th Ave. The Seminole Tribe is the parent entity of Hard Rock International. Click here for more information.

The guitar smash takes place May 14, 2021, for the opening of Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in Gary, Indiana. (Photo Hard Rock)
A sparkly top worn by Michael Jackson and a black satin dress worn by his sister Janet Jackson are among the displays of famous musicians’ memorabilia at Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in Gary, Indiana. (Photo Guy Rhodes)
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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at