Hard Rock to Compliment Cincinnati Property With $70M Hotel

Hard Rock Atlantic City

In an effort to attract the regional crowd, Hard Rock International says that it will invest $70M to build a hotel at its downtown Cincinnati property.

Said Jon Lucas, chief operating officer for Hard Rock International:

“It’s critical to the continued success of this property as we grow the entertainment lineup. People can regionally come here, enjoy a show, gamble a little bit, eat some dinner. And then they don’t have to drive back home. They can spend the night.”

A Quick Timeline

The hotel plans include 300 rooms, a spa, fitness center, and luxury suites for high-rollers. According to Lucas, the hotel will be built either on the casino’s front lawn along Eggleston Avenue or north of the casino’s parking garage in what is now a surface lot.

Hard Rock says that they have already finished doing the feasibility study on the hotel project and they have already met with their partners regarding its timeline. According to Lucas, he expects the project to be finished “pretty” quick.

Increased Competition in the Local Gambling Market

Hard Rock’s $70M hotel plan is an indication of increased competition in the local gambling market. Churchill Downs recently announced that it is investing $148M to for the expansion of Turfway Park. The extension is intended to house 1,500 “historical racing machines” which are played like slot machines but which comply to Kentucky’s gambling laws.

Aside from the planned hotel, Hard Rock International also spent $40M to upgrade the dining facilities and concert venue facilities of the Cincinnati casino. The company also put up a sportsbook in the casino in anticipation of the legalization of sports betting in Ohio.

Hard Rock International Launches Exclusive Digital Venture

Casino Slot Machines, Hard Rock Atlantic City Logo
Hard Rock International announced on Monday the launch of a digital venture with three former Star Group Executives. The partnership is aimed at significantly expanding Hard Rock’s digital gaming and sports betting business, globally.

Hard Rock Digital will take advantage of Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming database of more than 130 million customers and nearly 250 land-based properties across 76 countries and offer interactive gaming and sports betting products. Hard Rock Digital will be full capitalized by Hard Rock International, Seminole Gaming, and its partners.

Said Hard Rock International chairman Jim Allen:

“With the launch of Hard Rock Digital, we are broadening our digital business which enhances consumer experiences and offerings across our interactive gaming and sportsbook offerings. Hard Rock Digital also intends to pursue strategic branding and distribution opportunities both within the US and globally. In the US alone, the potential future market size is estimated at $7bn for sports betting and $14bn for online gaming.”

Ex-Star Group Executives

The new business will be headed by Rafi Ashkenazi, the former chief executive of the Stars Group. Ashkenazi left the Stars Group after Flutter Entertainment completed its merger with the PokerStars operator last May. He is expected to assume his new position early next year after taking a gardening leave.

Joining Ashkenazi in the Hard Rock Digital business is Marlon Goldstein who was the former Legal Officer of the Stars Group. Goldstein will serve as Hard Rock Digital’s CEO and executive managing director. He also serves on the board of Tekkorp Digital Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisitions company.

Completing the Stars Group hirees is Matt Primeaux who served as senior vice president of US strategy and operation for Stars Group. Primeaux will hold the position of President and executive managing director for Hard Rock Digital.

New Independent Board

The three-man management team will report to a newly formed, independent Board of Directors of Hard Rock Digital, which will be chaired by HRI chair Jim Allen. According to the hospitality and entertainment giant, Hard Rock Digital will be based in Hollywood, Florida.

The brand is already active in the gaming industry and has launched igaming and sports betting in New Jersey and Iowa, in partnership with Gaming Innovation Group. That collaboration ended in September with Hard Rock signing a new deal with Scientific Games.

According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming and Entertainment, the operator generated a total of $6.3M from its online casino business and $418,516 from its sports betting operations.

3D Model of Hard Rock Bristol Unveiled For Public View

Hard Rock International Logo
Officials of the proposed Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Bristol unveiled to the public on Thursday the architectural 3D model of the project which will be built on the former Bristol Mall property. The model will be on display to the public at the former Bristol Mall from September 17-19, 2020.

The project is being spearheaded by local business leaders led by Jim McGlothlin, CEO of The United Co. and Clyde Stacy, the president of Par Ventures and owner of the 46 acre property where the proposed casino and hotel will be built. Florida-based Hard Rock who will manage the facility.

More Than Just A Casino

According to Hard Rock International Senior Vice President of Business and Casino Development Sean Caffrey said that the project will cost upwards of $350M. He emphasized that the development is more than just a casino. As the 3D model revealed, there is a hotel with a rooftop bar and a cabana flanked resort pool.

Seven restaurants and four bars are being planned for the project. Retail shops will also be an attraction while there are other areas like a sports betting shop, golf simulators, and a racing facility for children.

The other side of the property is a huge concert venue for big-name acts. Caffrey said that they’re thinking of something like the Hard Rock Live concept which would have a 3,200-seat capacity for indoor entertainment with a dual-sided stage that opens up to an amphitheater which can accommodate 20,000 people in an outdoor setting

Perk Up The Economy

Before it can be built, the project has to be approved by a public referendum on November 3rd. If the project is approved after the November 3 vote, licensing will follow and that is expected to take three to six months to complete. Once it has obtained a license, the project could take up to two years to complete. Caffrey noted however that entertainment and dining options could be offered at a temporary facility after 90 to 100 days after the licensing period.

The Hard Rock project comes to Bristol at a time when the economy is bleeding due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the long-term benefits, including a $15M annual tax revenues for Bristol, won’t be there until the project is completed, the construction will help perk up the local economy. Construction costs are expected to directly impact up to $20M to the city and it’s going to provide 2,000 direct jobs as well.

Hard Rock CEO: ‘A Year’ Until Casinos Operate at Full Capacity

Hard Rock International HotelJim Allen, the chairman of Hard Rock International, one of the largest gaming companies in the world, told reporters on Wednesday that he believes it will be a while until casinos in the US operate at pre-COVID-19 levels.

That’s a hefty statement, considering the impact the coronavirus pandemic has made on the casino economy thus far, and it’s been less than a few months since the outbreak came onto the scene in the states.

According to Allen, he believes some regional casinos will be able to bounce back faster once the country opens casinos back up, but the tourism industry altogether will likely suffer for an extended period of time.

Allen says it will be a “real challenge” to ramp business back up, especially in the United States. His company is planning on losing a year of normal business until “business as usual” can return in the casino world.

Examining the Reopening Levels at Hard Rock’s China Property

If Hard Rock International’s reopening levels at their Asia property are any indication of what business might look like back in the states, the outlook is pretty grim.

Hard Rock’s hotel in Shenzen, a city right outside of Hong Kong, has been reopened for close to a month and its operating level is only at 12 percent capacity.

China was the first country to enact a total closure of casinos back in February, which lasted for 15 days. This was during the time that the virus was contained in China and they were dealing with proactive measures to slow the spread of it. Their casinos have since reopened.

Florida Properties Offer Most Hopeful Outlook

Allen says the company’s most profitable properties are its six casinos in Florida. Allen calls these properties “regional business,” explaining that casinos that will be able to attract visitors through car travel versus travel by plane have a better shot of rebounding quicker.

While it’s exciting to see people flocking to be back on Florida beaches, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recent reopening of them, Allen believes the crowd is due more to the get-out-of-the-house push, and not indicative of the boom his casinos will see in the state.

However, Allen believes that casinos will take the proper precautions and necessary steps to ensure guests feel safe when they are able to visit again.

Allen advised that Hard Rock’s Florida properties were doing a lot more than social distancing during its final days of operation before the nationwide shutdown of casinos.

They had one slot machine on and four off at one time, and only three players at gaming tables.

Casinos Are Developing Safety Measures for Opening Back Up

In order for casinos to maintain a sense of normalcy when things open back up, in terms of guest volume, casino operators will need to ramp up safety measures to make guests feel as safe as possible.

Casino executives in Las Vegas are already outlining their new coronavirus safety measures, including Wynn Resorts.

Wynn says they plan on using thermal screening on guests to track internal body temperature, having dealers wear masks, and putting a seat of distance in between gaming table and slot players.

Stay Tuned

A year seems like a long time for things to return to normal, but right now all we know is this “new normal” that’s come along with the pandemic.

We’re curious: Do you agree with the Hard Rock CEO’s estimate that it will take a year for casinos to operate at full capacity again?

We’d love to know your insight. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Hard Rock Will Continue to Invest in Atlantic City, Despite Town’s Bad Shape

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic CityThe CEO of Hard Rock Atlantic City, Jim Allen, voiced his concerns that Atlantic City is “going in the wrong direction,” citing that the city in the worse shape it’s ever been since buying the Atlantic City casino nearly three years ago.

The resort is doing their part to keep employee morale high. After an employee meeting last Thursday, the Hard Rock handed out bonuses to nearly $2,900 full-time employees, totaling $2 million. Allen said while the company is willing and ready to be a part of a solution to build a better Atlantic City, it’s not confident over recent developments.

The City Needs Patching Up

One particular area of concern that comes up often is the lack of urgency when it comes to maintaining the surrounding areas. This includes keeping the streets clean and repairing anything within the environment that may affect consumer safety and working to prevent potential accidents. Allen notes that the streetlights have been out for two months on several blocks along Pacific Avenue:

“When you’re in a resort environment where safety and security is so important, if the city can’t get something fixed as simple as the street lighting, then maybe a change is needed,” he said.

Allen had humble career beginnings in the casino industry, when he started out as a cook at Bally’s Atlantic City over 40 years ago. He made a mere $6.11 an hour. Understanding the importance of keeping the hospitality industry alive in the town, he felt urged to meet with Mayor Marty Small to discuss plans for progress.

Recruiting the Mayor’s Help

On Thursday, Mayor Small stated that he’s been working with the electric company and state agency responsible for planning in the city to restore functioning traffic lights. That’s the first step. When asked about the impact he’s made and plans to move forward, he said this:

“I’ve been in office 103 days and we’ve already made changes, with plenty to come. I’m moving my agenda forward, and will meet with anyone that has the city’s best interest (at heart), which Jim Allen does.”

What’s Next Moving Forward

If the casino’s performance improves, Allen said the company will be looking to double bonuses next year. Although the hotel misses its 2019 business targets by 10%, it didn’t stop the generous and forward-thinking CEO to give the bonuses.

The motive is to motivate full-time workers to provide great customer service. Many of the workers received $250, while managers received bonuses on scales tied to their salary.

It’s a smart business move. If the city can’t improve its infrastructure, it can at least improve its level of service to keep guests coming to the door. Jill Tyron, an administrative assistant for Hard Rock Atlantic City said this about the free bonus the company received:

“What’s not to love about free money? I love it here. The people I work with are wonderful.”

The company plans to invest at least $15 million in capital expenditures in Atlantic City in 2020, one of those expenditures including an expanded sports betting operation.

Hard Rock International Reveals PlayersEdge to the Public

This is, without a doubt, one of the busiest years in Hard Rock International’s history since being taken over by the Seminole Tribe. The company has expanded around the country and is now looking to break into Asia. This week, Hard Rock International revealed PlayersEdge, a groundbreaking new program aimed at better educating gamblers.Hard Rock International Logo

It’s a huge development for this major US casino company. Now is the perfect time to look at what exactly it will offer to gamblers.

Let’s get into it!

Hard Rock Continues to Expand in Busy 2019

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s been an extremely busy year for Hard Rock in 2019. This company operates a huge number of world-class casinos around the country. This year, Hard Rock International opened its brand new casino-resort in Hollywood, Florida.

This massive guitar-shaped venue is one of the biggest ever built in the US. It cost an astounding $1.5 billion to construct. More than 600 rooms are available for guests, including a variety of world-class suites.

The casino floor at the new Hard Rock Hollywood hotel is also incredible. It features more than 3,000 slot machines and a huge entertainment area for guests. All of the most popular table games are also available here including blackjack, poker, and baccarat.

Recently, Hard Rock International’s CEO announced he was interested in breaking into the Las Vegas market. For years, a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino operated in Vegas yet it had no affiliation with Hard Rock International. This venue is now closed, and company officials believe it’s the perfect time to bring something special to the city.

There’s no rest for the weary. This week, Hard Rock International revealed PlayersEdge, an astounding new gambling education program.

Hard Rock International Officially Reveals PlayersEdge

There have been rumors circulating about a new program that Hard Rock was working on. Exactly what this program would offer was entirely unknown. This week, the company finally unveiled PlayersEdge and explained exactly what it aims to accomplish.

PlayersEdge is a groundbreaking new program that’s truly the first of its kind. It starts out by offering tips on game facts and casino etiquette. It also helps players understand their own behavior. This isn’t your typical “responsible gambling” program that many companies offer, though.

Hard Rock International realizes that most gamblers simply brush these programs to the side. Hope is that PlayersEdge offers something that’s actually valuable.

Paul Pellizzari, Vice President of Global Social Responsibility for Hard Rock International, commented on the unveiling of this new product to the media this week.

“We built PlayersEdge by listening to gamblers. We want to communicate the right information by appealing to how they actually think and behave in casinos,” he said. “By understanding the risk profiles and experience levels of different player types, we can segment and target information more precisely, bringing a new focus on preventing problems before they start.”

Those with gambling issues can even use the program to help self-exclude themselves from gambling platforms and find addiction help centers. It will be offered through a mix of media, including print, digital, web, social and live activations.

Japan Remains a Focus Point for Hard Rock

Hard Rock International has opened a huge number of gambling venues around the US recently. Now, company officials are beginning to take a closer look at expansion into Asia. Japan, in particular, is an extremely exciting market that this company is hoping to break into over the next few years.

Japan legalized casinos in 2018. Unfortunately, it’s taking the government years to agree on the regulation of this industry. Officials here still need to reveal which cities in the country will be permitted to host a gambling venue.

Heads of Hard Rock International have revealed that they are interested in opening a gambling venue in Japan. Many analysts claim the country will grow to have one of the biggest casino markets in the world.

Obtaining a casino license won’t be easy here. Many of the world’s biggest and best casino companies have expressed interest in operating here. It remains to be seen which companies will start running here.

Hard Rock International has finally revealed PlayersEdge to the public. Now, it can begin to truly focus on overseas expansion.

Stay tuned for more US casino news over the next few months!

Florida’s Guitar Hotel is Already Making Headlines

The Seminole Tribe in Florida has finally opened its most ambitious project to date. Florida’s guitar hotel is up and running and is already making headlines around the country. Now is the perfect time to look at what this massive venue has to offer.

Hard Rock Hotel Hollywood

There’s a lot happening with Hard Rock International right now. Today, we’ll also talk about some of the Seminole Tribe’s other projects. Let’s get into it!

The Casino Industry in Florida is Expanding

Florida’s gambling industry can be traced back to the early 1800s. At that time, many gambling venues were spread around the state. Lawmakers did little to regulate these establishments. In the 1940s, the state government began cracking down on different forms of gambling.

This state is home to several major tribes, many of whom were eager to crack into the gambling industry. In 1979, the Seminole Tribe opened their first bingo hall in the state. In 1988, the Supreme Court passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, allowing every state to open full-scale casinos. By 2004, the Seminole’s operated several major casinos here.

Back in 2006, the Seminole Tribe purchased Hard Rock International for $965 million.

In 2010, Florida passed a bill to allow full poker gambling. This also helped to boost the state’s gambling industry. Today, there are a huge number of casinos in Florida, many of which are operated by the Seminoles.

Construction began on Florida’s guitar hotel more than a year ago. In July, the tribe announced it was looking for 600 additional workers for this hotel-casino. This week, the incredible new venue officially opened to the public.

Florida’s Guitar Hotel is Now Open

The Seminole Tribe is no stranger to opening massive hotel-casinos. Years ago, they announced plans for an incredible $1.5 billion hotel expansion plans in Hollywood, Florida. Now, this venue is officially open for business.

Florida’s guitar hotel is the biggest ever constructed by Hard Rock International. It’s in the shape as a giant electric guitar and features more than 600 rooms for guests. The casino holds more than 3,000 slot machines and a massive entertainment area.

Marcellus Osceola, council chairman of the Seminole Tribe, commented on the opening of this new hotel-casino to the media this week.

“We’re very thankful and we’re blessed to be in a position that we can provide the general welfare and the help and assistance that tribe members need,” he said. “The dollars that we make here will make life a little bit easier for our members when they have health care issues or when they are trying to buy a car to transport themselves with their families.”

This is expected to become one of the biggest and most popular gambling venues in the United States.

The Seminole Tribe currently pays the state around $350 million every year. With this new venue now opened, this figure is likely to increase.

Hard Rock International Considers Move to Las Vegas

Hard Rock International owns and operates many casinos around the country. Interestingly, it’s never run a gambling venue in Las Vegas. The Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, which was recently sold to Virgin Hotels, was owned and operated independently by a separate company.

One of the company’s top officials recently claimed he was interested in making the move into Las Vegas. Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International, says he’s been considering this move for the past several months.

The company is still working on breaking into Japan, as well. Only three casino licenses will be handed out in this country. Many analysts believe that opening a casino-resort in Las Vegas would help Hard Rock stand out and could help their chances to receive one of these licenses.

We’ll need to wait and see whether or not Hard Rock officially makes the move into Las Vegas. Several companies are currently interested in selling properties on the Las Vegas Strip. Perhaps Hard Rock will decide to purchase one of these venues.

Florida’s guitar hotel is now open. If you’re in the Hollywood area, make sure to give it a visit!

Stay tuned for more Florida casino news over the next few months!

Hard Rock International Could Soon Break Into Las Vegas

Hard Rock International is one of the biggest and most successful hotel-casino companies in the country. Interestingly, it hasn’t ever managed to run a major venue in Las Vegas. This week, the Chairman of Hard Rock International told the media he’s interested in purchasing a LV Strip property.

Jim Allen Hard Rock CEO

Today, we’re going to look at the details of the recent Hard Rock Las Vegas property sale. We’ll also talk about how soon Hard Rock International could break into Sin City. Let’s get into it!

Hard Rock Las Vegas Property Sold to Virgin Hotels

Back in the early 90s, owners of the Hard Rock Cafe revealed that they were planning to construct a new hotel-casino in Las Vegas. In 1995, this venue officially opened its doors in Paradise, not far from the Las Vegas Strip. It proved to be a success, drawing in both tourists and locals to the casino floor.

Florida’s Seminole Tribe purchased Hard Rock International in 2007 for nearly $1 billion. This new deal excluded rights to operate the Las Vegas property.

In 2006, Morgans Hotel Group agreed to purchase this hotel-casino. As part of the deal, MHG agreed to keep using the Hard Rock name. Over the next five years, ownership of this venue switched several times.

Unfortunately, the casino’s revenue began falling. Since 2008, it struggled to bring in guests and casino players, leading many to call for its sale. In March of 2019, this sale was officially finalized.

Owners announced that they’d sold their Las Vegas property to Virgin Hotels. The Richard Branson-run Virgin Hotels is breaking into the Vegas market for the first time. The company has officially closed this hotel with an opening date scheduled for late 2020.

At first, it looked as if the Hard Rock brand was permanently leaving the Las Vegas market. This does not appear to be the case anymore.

Chairman of Hard Rock International Wants a Las Vegas Property

For fans of the Hard Rock brand, it was a shame to see the Las Vegas property go up for sale.

Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International, recently told the media that he’s interested in opening a hotel-casino here. According to new reports, Allen has been planning a Las Vegas property purchase for months.

Allen claims that the Las Vegas Strip is “certainly” one of the possibilities for a new hotel-casino. He also told the media that Vegas would be “a great opportunity for our brand.”

As of now, it appears that Allen is interested in purchasing Planet Hollywood, or Bally’s. Both of these venues are located in prime locations on the Strip.

Brendan Bussman, a partner at Global Market Advisors, believes that purchasing a Strip property will not be easy.

“There will probably be multiple properties interested,” Bussmann said. “There’s only a few good parcels on the Strip you can do something with.”

The Timing for a Strip Purchase Might be Perfect

This might be the most ideal time for Hard Rock International to make the move into Las Vegas. Several major casino companies here are interested in selling their Strip properties. MGM Resorts, for example, just sold its Circus Circus and Bellagio properties last week!

Eldorado Resorts is another company that’s looking to sell a major hotel-casino. The company is set to acquire Caesars Entertainment soon and wants to get rid of a Strip venue to help make up for the $17.3 billion that it cost to purchase the company.

The purchase of a Las Vegas Strip property may also help Hard Rock’s chances of breaking into the Japanese market. Hard Rock International is making it clear that they’re interested in opening one of the three casino-resorts in Japan.

Las Vegas remains the gold standard for casino companies. Owning a property on the Strip here would be huge for the company’s portfolio. Lawmakers in Japan are currently deciding which US casino companies to grant a gambling license.

We may see Hard Rock return to Las Vegas very soon. Make sure to stay tuned for more news on the situation over the next few weeks!