Gary’s Hard Rock Casino honors Jackson 5, Indiana music legends and provides place for fans to play

Chicago Scene

GARY, Ind. — It was nothing short of Rock and Roll royalty at the opening of the new Hard Rock Casino in Gary. Members of the Jackson family were on hand as the new casino celebrated its grand opening recently, complete with their signature guitar smash. 

Moments after the guitar smash

Participants included Tito and Marlon Jackson, 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. 

The $300 million casino and entertainment destination officially opened to the public on Friday, May 14. The 200,000-square-foot complex includes a massive gaming space, five food venues, an on-site sportsbook, a retail shop, and a 1,954-seat venue.

The Jacksons are featured prominently throughout the casino. 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.

Outfits worn by the Jackson FIve and the famous Joe Jackson guitar

“It feels good that others recognize your work, we don’t take it for granted, it’s a blessing,” said Jackson.  “This shows the appreciation of not only the Hard Rock but the city of Gary and the people of Gary the support they’ve given you throughout your career. To come back here and put this place here and to be part of the memorabilia is a great thing because people are passing through here every day and they can see your accomplishments.”

With more than 170 pieces of music memorabilia on display inside, the casino represents a wide range of genres.

The Jacksons are at the epicenter of the story told by the items that include Joe Jackson’s storied guitar, to outfits worn on stage by family members, and items with a more individualized connection.

Other Jackson memorabilia include Janet Jackson’s suit from her Velvet Rope tour, Michael’s iconic glove, and the red leather jacket from the “Beat It” video.

Visitors can expect a proper representation of the importance of Indiana to the music world, featuring memorabilia from Indiana music icons such as John Mellencamp, Alex Rose, Jimmy Reed, Deniece Williams, Kym Mazelle, Crystal Taliefero, and Big Daddy Kinsey.  

Eddie Van Halen guitar on display from a 2012 concert

Other notable artists with items in the casino include Lady Gaga, Eddie Van Halen, Elvis Presley, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Pharrel, Shakira, and Fergie. 

Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana
5400 West 29th Ave., in Gary, IN 46406. 

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