April 9, 2021 3 min read


Majestic Star to Turn Off Lights for the Last Time Next Week

It’s the end of an era in Northern Indiana in more ways than one. The Majestic Star, the first casino ever to grace the area’s landscape, is going to close down permanently next week, 25 years after it welcomed its first gamblers. Located on Lake Michigan, the floating casino is part of a dying breed that is being replaced in Indiana after lawmakers approved a transition to land-based properties, which opened a deal for Hard Rock International to expand in the state. Following the closure, the new Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana will open a few short weeks later.

Ohio Gaming Scene Continues to Evolve

According to local media outlet NWI.com, Majestic Star will officially close as of midnight on April 18, and anyone hoping for a last-minute look around will need to arrive before 11 PM that day. When Indiana’s legislature authorized the transition from floating to land-based casinos, Hard Rock made a deal in July 2019 to purchase the property from its current owner, Spectacle Entertainment, and relocate the license. Along with that, many of the furnishings and gaming equipment found in the Majestic Star will be relocated, as well. 

Jahnae Erpenbach, Spectacle’s CEO and the GM of Majestic Star states, “While it is bittersweet to say goodbye to our little casino on Buffington Harbor, the entire team at Majestic Star Casino is excited about the transition to Hard Rock. Working with an international brand in northern Indiana is a wonderful opportunity for our employees, as well as a new entertainment experience for the entire community. I would like to personally wish our team members, the Hard Rock executive team, and Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana President Matt Schuffert the very best. We look forward to a long and successful partnership in Indiana.”

The transition won’t impact Majestic Star regulars, except for the temporary break in the action. The new Hard Rock property will accept all Majestic Rewards accounts and balances, which will be transferred to the Hard Rock Loyalty club. Tier points, points that Majestic Star patrons earned for the length of play, won’t transfer directly; however, Hard Rock will use them to determine where the patrons should rank in its own card system. Majestic Star slot winnings or chips can be redeemed at the new property, as well, but these will eventually be issued a redemption expiration date.

Majestic Star’s Trump Ties

Former President of the US (POTUS) Donald Trump has had his hands in numerous business activities over the years, including casinos. His name has been seen on several gaming properties, but virtually all of these have now completely disappeared. Majestic Star is one of just a small handful of casinos that can be traced back to Trump’s involvement. 

Trump previously owned a gaming ship known at the time as the Trump Princess. This later became the Majestic Star II, which sailed in tandem with Majestic Star, owned then by Don Barden, on rotating shifts. Trump sold his interest to Barden in 2005, and the pair of vessels made their way to Spectacle a short time later.


Erik brings his unique writing talents and storytelling flare to cover a wide range of gambling topics. He has written for a number of industry-related publications over the years, providing insight into the constantly evolving world of gaming. A huge sports fan, he especially enjoys football and anything related to sports gambling. Erik is particularly interested in seeing how sports gambling and online gaming are transforming the larger gaming ecosystem.

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