Former Trump Princess Gambling Boat Now Selling for $6M

Posted on: November 6, 2019, 07:59h. 

Last updated on: November 6, 2019, 12:41h.

A pair of Gary, Indiana gaming vessels, one of which formerly belonged to a company run by Donald Trump, are listed for sale at an asking price of $6 million each.

The Majestic Star, pictured above, and the Majestic Star II are now for sale, as a gaming license is being transferred to a new inland Gary, Indiana venue. (Image: Carole Carlson/Chicago Tribune)

The price tag is far less than the original construction costs. Each was built for more than $45 million in the 1990s, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana.

The smaller of the two, Majestic Star II, was first known as the Trump Princess. The welded steel vessel can carry about 2,900 people, while Majestic Star can accommodate 3,500. It is described as in “impeccable condition.” Altogether, the Majestic Star and Majestic Star II have 1,620 slot machines and 63 gaming tables aboard.

They are used by current owner Spectacle Entertainment as floating casinos in Gary’s Buffington Harbor. The pair of boats are now listed by Florida-based brokerage Storti Marine Services.

Storti has sold or leased more than 44 casino vessels over three decades. It is also currently selling what it describes as the world’s largest casino riverboat, the Glory of Rome, with an asking price of $6 million.

The Majestic Stars originally were used as casinos that cruised on Lake Michigan. But once Indiana approved dockside gambling, they mostly remained anchored, as passengers came aboard to gamble.

Trump Sold Boat 14 Years Ago

In 2005, Trump sold his boat and gaming license for $253 million to Don Barden, who already owned Majestic Star. Barden later died and the two boats were acquired by an investment firm.

Then in March, Spectacle Entertainment purchased both vessels. Details of the transaction were never released.

The Indiana gaming license that allowed the pair of boats to operate as casinos will be transferred to a single inland venue to be known as Hard Rock Casino Gary.

The gaming venue is to open along the Borman Expressway on a 40-acre plot less than a half-hour away from Chicago. Spectacle officials told the Gary Plan Commission in July the approximately 225,000 square foot, $400 million casino is scheduled to open on Dec. 31, 2020.

The inland Gary venue also includes a 2,000-seat concert hall. The company is expecting an adjacent hotel and parking garage to open in 2022 or 2023.

Spectacle also agreed to give back the second Majestic Star license to the state, which has earmarked it for another land-based casino in Terre Haute.

Reassigning the Buffington Harbor casino license to the land-based parcel has also led to the closing of a 300-room hotel that is located at the harbor. The hotel was initially opened by Trump’s casino company in 1998.

Compliance Questions Raised

Last month, Hard Rock’s compliance committee “found that there was no impropriety on behalf of Spectacle” regarding property deals on land for the planned inland casino. In September, Hard Rock announced the compliance review after a series of articles by The Times of Northwest Indiana revealed concerns about several properties purchased at Lake County tax sales.

The auctions allow the county to sell-off land it seizes when owners fail to pay property taxes. In at least one instance, a man allegedly purchased property at a tax sale that was seized from his father, who was looking to sell the land to Spectacle.

After the boats are moved from their current location on Lake Michigan, room will be available for a planned cargo shipping complex on Buffington Harbor.