As construction continues on Hard Rock Northern Indiana in Gary, Ind., work is underway to find employees who will staff the $300 million land-based casino. That includes blackjack dealers and others to staff table games.
Next week, the casino will hold two hiring events. Scheduled times will be next Tuesday (Nov. 17) from 9 am to 1 pm CT, and the following Thursday (Nov. 19) from 2-6 pm CT. Both events will take place at the Majestic Star Casino.
On Hard Rock’s career website, the casino operator says no experience is necessary, as prospective employees will be offered paid training on blackjack, craps, and other games.
Those who graduate from training will receive a bonus of up to $2,000.
Hard Rock Northern Indiana will replace the two Majestic Star riverboats currently docked on Gary’s Lake Michigan shore. Indiana’s 2019 expanded gaming law gave Spectacle Entertainment, owners of the Majestic Star, the right to build a land-based casino five miles away.
Spectacle partnered with Hard Rock International, the Florida-based company that will operate the casino.
The hope is to hire 200 dealers to attend the school. Overall, Hard Rock plans to fill up to 800 total additional positions,” said Kay Kearney, Spectacle’s director of communications, to Casino.org.
Those additional 600 jobs include gaming floor positions and personnel for other parts of the casino. The first phase will include a 200,000-square-foot facility that will hold 1,650 slot machines and 80 table games. It will also include retail space and six dining options, as well as a 2,000-seat arena.
More information on the hiring fairs can be found on Hard Rock Northern Indiana’s website.
Hard Rock Northern Indiana is expected to be a job-creator for Gary, something the city and surrounding area have needed even before the COVID-19 crisis.
In September 2019, Lake County, where Gary is located, reported an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent. That was the third-lowest rate for the county since it had a 2.8 percent rate in October 2000. However, last year’s rate was still a full percentage point higher than the state’s rate of 3.2 percent.
When COVID forced Indiana officials to shut down casinos and other businesses in March, the rates skyrocketed to 17.3 percent for the state and 20.3 percent for Lake County in April.
Those unemployment rates have fallen significantly over the last six months, as the state reported in at 6.2 percent in September. Still, Lake County reported a higher rate at 8.7 percent.
The March closure order forced the Majestic Star to furlough all of its workers, and while it and other casinos reopened in June, capacity restrictions have kept Spectacle from recalling all of its workers.
However, Kearney told Casino.org that if those restrictions are lifted, furloughed employees impacted will be recalled.
According to the 2020 Indiana Gaming Commission Annual Report, the Majestic Star employed 906 workers.
According to the casino’s website, officials anticipate Hard Rock Northern Indiana opening early next year.
After finishing the first phase, plans call for adding a hotel with up to 300 rooms at the venue.
When Hard Rock opens, it will face stiff competition in a very crowded Chicago-area market. There are 10 other commercial and tribal casinos within a 60-mile radius. And within a few years, Illinois may add three additional casinos in Chicago or its suburbs.