Majestic Star owners plan new barge at lakefront gaming site

Gary, Indiana (AP) – The owners of northwest Indiana’s Majestic Star Casino will build a new barge for their gaming operations along Lake Michigan.

Former Mayor Scott King, now a consultant for Barden Enterprises, said the new barge would be the centerpiece of improvements at Gary’s Buffington Harbor, which also will include homes, businesses and entertainment.

„It’s a refinement, really, of the plans that have been on the table for some time,“ King said. „There are some new aspects of the plan as well.“

King would not disclose the specifics of owner Don Barden’s plans for the new barge.

„That’s part of the internal process,“ he said.

Barden recently asked the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority for public funds to pay for a multipurpose arena he wants to bring to Buffington Harbor. The arena could join the new barge in anchoring an expansive development of condos, retail shops and entertainment facilities Barden has proposed for the area.

However, public officials have expressed skepticism about committing public development funds to a private project.

King said Barden wants the improvements as an added attraction to bring gamblers to Majestic Star.

„(Horseshoe Casino) in Hammond is expanding, (Blue Chip Casino) in Michigan City expanded, and Resorts in East Chicago will probably expand, too,“ King said. „It’s a very competitive market, and it will only get more competitive when the land-based (Four Winds Resort) casino opens next year in New Buffalo, Michigan.“

One of Barden’s advantages is the land available for development.

„Compared to the other casinos in the area, Don has a lot of room to spread out and improve,“ King said.