Pete Rose assists Hard Rock Cincinnati with the opening ceremony

Posted: Oct 24, 2021 2:15 am.

Last updated: October 24, 2021, 4:46 am.

Steve Bittenbender

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Hard Rock International celebrates the official opening of its Cincinnati casino on Friday. And the gaming and entertainment company, which has made a name for itself to celebrate hitmakers, brings you – just not from the music industry – to the celebrations.

Hard Rock Cincinnati
Signage at the Hard Rock Cincinnati Casino has been up for a while, but the Ohio venue will officially reopen on Friday. (Image:

Pete Rose, the all-time hit king of baseball, will return to his home in Cincinnati on Friday morning and place the first table game bet at the renamed downtown venue. He will also be signing a guitar that will be part of the casino’s memorabilia collection.

Not only does Rose hold the Major League record with 4,256 goals – more than 3,300 of them in a Cincinnati Reds jersey – Rose is also known for being banned from the game 32 years ago after being found he was on the Reds had bet while he was administering it.

Instead of a ceremonial severing of the ribbon, Hard Rock celebrates the grand opening of each of its casinos with a guitar smash that includes Hard Rock officials and leaders of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which includes Hard Rock. It will also include local officials and celebrities, much like Hard Rock, who is bringing members of the Jackson family home to open the $ 300 million casino in Gary, Indiana in May.

In addition to Rose, Hard Rock Cincinnati will play the first concert on Friday evening with Earth, Wind & Fire playing in the casino’s events center. Tickets are still available on the casino’s website.

Big opening event two years in the making

The official opening takes place two years after the purchase of the Ohio Casino by the Florida-based gambling company of JACK Entertainment. It was a deal with real estate investment trust VICI Properties Inc. Hard Rock was also close to acquiring Turfway Park, a thoroughbred racetrack in nearby Florence, Kentucky. However, JACK eventually sold it to Churchill Downs Incorporated.

The transition from JACK to Hard Rock has taken place gradually over the past few months. The Rock Shop opened in the casino in April and a Hard Rock Café opened in July. On Monday, Council Oak Steaks & Seafood, an upscale restaurant, opens.

Hard Rock has also added more than 250 new slot machines to the casino. The casino offers more than 1,600 slot machines and 84 table games on a 108,800 square meter gaming area.

The big reopening comes at a time when Hard Rock is in the middle of a big expansion. In addition to opening Hard Rock Northern Indiana in Gary, the Florida-based company is also working on opening a new casino in Rockford, Illinois. It also applies for the casino license in Terre Haute, Ind., Which the Indiana Gaming Commission will award next month.

Hard Rock will also open a casino in Bristol, Virginia. It will also operate sports betting in Florida, thanks to an amended gaming contract signed between state officials and the Seminoles.

Cincinnati is a very competitive gaming market

Ohio has four full-fledged casinos in the state. JACK Entertainment operates the casino in Cleveland, while Penn National Gaming operates Hollywood casinos in Columbus and Toledo.

In the first nine months of 2021, the four casinos combined generated sales of more than $ 740 million. That is based on data released by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

Of the four casinos, Hard Rock is the lowest in revenue at $ 168.9 million. However, it also faces more regional competition than any other casino.

There are three Racinos in the Cincinnati-Dayton area that have video lottery terminals. The racinos, seven of which are nationally regulated by the Ohio Lottery, do not offer table games.

There are three full-fledged casinos less than 50 miles from Cincinnati in neighboring southwest Indiana. Across the Ohio River in Kentucky, Churchill Downs opened Newport Racing and Gaming. The $ 38 million historic horse racing saloon is minutes from downtown Cincinnati.

Churchill is also in the middle of a $ 145 million turfway renovation. This includes a larger HHR salon. This facility will contain up to 1,500 of the Kentucky legal slot machines that are similar to slots. Officials at the Louisville-based gaming company expect it to open next summer.

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