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A yuuuge deal: Buy the Gary casino boat that Donald Trump built

A yuuuge deal: Buy the Gary casino boat that Donald Trump built


GARY — If Donald Trump ever decides he wants to revive the tradition of a presidential yacht, he now can acquire a yuuuge boat he already knows well — on the cheap.

Spectacle Entertainment, owner of Gary's Majestic Star casinos, has put up for sale its two gaming boats, including the former Trump Princess, ahead of next year's planned relocation and rebranding as the Hard Rock Casino Gary.

The boats are listed for sale at $6 million each through Storti Marine Services, a Florida-based boat brokerage firm.

Records show each vessel cost more than $45 million to build in the early 1990s.

The Majestic Star is described as being in "impeccable condition" with a capacity of 3,500 passengers, while the former Trump boat, now known as Majestic Star II, has a capacity of 2,990 people.

Between 1993 and 2002, the two boats competed for gamblers side-by-side at Buffington Harbor, with the Trump casino sailing Lake Michigan every odd hour between 9 a.m. and 3 a.m., and Don Barden's Majestic Star leaving the dock at the top of the even hours.

Indiana legalized dockside gambling in August 2002 and the boats haven't moved much since.

The Trump name disappeared altogether from Buffington Harbor in 2005 when the business mogul sold his Gary casino license and boat for $253 million to Barden, one of the nation's premier black businessmen.

Spectacle purchased both boats for an undisclosed sum in March after the properties languished for several years under the control of a Minnesota investment firm that acquired them out of a bankruptcy finalized following Barden's 2011 death.

Earlier this year, the Indiana General Assembly authorized Spectacle to consolidate its two casino boats onto a single owner's license and to relocate to a land-based site away from Lake Michigan.

Groundbreaking is expected soon at the 29th Avenue and Burr Street property adjacent to the Borman Expressway that by Dec. 31, 2020, that will be home to the new $300 million, 225,000-square-foot Hard Rock Casino Gary.


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