Posted on: December 26, 2020, 11:45 am.
Last update on: December 27th, 2020, 10:05 am.
Hard Rock International signed a purchase agreement for JACK Casino Cincinnati in September 2019. However, the downtown Ohio attraction still bears the old nickname.
The name on the outside still says JACK. However, Hard Rock International officials are working on the transition to turn the downtown attraction into a Hard Rock Casino. (Image: CincinnatiUSA.com)
In an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer last week, George Goldhoff, President of Hard Rock Cincinnati Casino, revealed when the legendary guitar logo could finally appear in the apartment of funk master Bootsy Collins.
As expected, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the company’s plans.
Given that we worked without an official brand and without the 70,000 people downtown prior to COVID to provide pedestrian traffic for our casino, I am optimistic that we will roll out Hard Rock in Cincinnati next year once the pandemic is in our rearview mirror. “He told the newspaper.
The casino’s closure in the spring could have been an ideal time to change the branding of the casino’s cosmetics. But the nationwide shutdown also prevented Hard Rock contractors from working too, he said.
Goldhoff also told the newspaper there was a question of where resources should be placed. The company chose to dedicate these resources to maintaining performance for its employees.
And while Ohio casinos have not closed for the second time like other states, they remain under a curfew ordered by Governor Mike DeWine in November. This means that the venue must be closed until at least next Sunday, January 2nd, at 10:00 p.m. CET.
Restricted opening hours as well as capacity constraints have deterred Hard Rock from bringing back all of its 950 staff. The casino currently employs around 400 people, Goldhoff said.
“Behind the Scenes” work in progress
Hard Rock agreed to purchase Cincinnati Casino from JACK Entertainment in April 2019. At this point, JACK was keen to reduce its gaming activities. The company previously sold the Greektown Casino Hotel in Detroit to Penn National Gaming in November 2018 for $ 1 billion.
JACK still has a casino in downtown Cleveland and a Racino in the suburbs of the city in northern Ohio.
Goldhoff told The Enquirer that some behind-the-scenes work has started. These include the unveiling of new uniforms for employees, switching computer systems, and the unveiling of the company’s loyalty rewards program.
Further steps are being planned.
“Our new Hard Rock look and feel will be vibrant and typical Hard Rock style, with cool and unique museum-quality memorabilia around the property creating Hard Rock moments for visitors and gamers alike,” said Goldhoff.
As part of the Hard Rock deal to purchase the JACK casino, Vici Properties bought the 22-acre property and leased it to the gaming company. The total purchase price was $ 745 million.
Hard Rock Faces competition
At one point, Hard Rock was vying for a larger share of the gaming business in the Cincinnati market.
As part of the initial sales contract for the Cincinnati Casino, Hard Rock also wanted to purchase Turfway Park, a racetrack in nearby Erlanger, Ky. Before the purchase agreement could be completed, however, Churchill Downs Inc. announced plans to look for Turfway’s race dates and build a dedicated track nearby.
Eventually Churchill Downs agreed to buy the existing line for $ 46 million. The Louisville-based gaming company is in the midst of a $ 100 million upheaval for the 61-year-old venue.
In October, Churchill opened a historic horse racing venue in Newport, just across from downtown Cincinnati. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved Churchill’s move to generate revenue for wallets.
Churchill Downs also plans to offer HHR machines at Turfway. For the time being, however, the old grandstand was demolished as the workers were building a new venue. In addition to new seats for fans, up to 1,500 slot machines are planned on the route.
Goldhoff told the Enquirer that Hard Rock has a very different atmosphere than Churchill’s Newport Salon.
“We are a full-service casino specializing in the creation of non-gaming experiences with amenities such as special-concept dining, live entertainment, museum-quality memorabilia and a unique service delivery.” he said.
In addition to the HHR machines, Hard Rock faces competition from three Indiana casinos and three Racinos in southwest Ohio.