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Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati to be unveiled this summer

The new Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati will include a Hard Rock Cafe. (Courtesy image)

Hard Rock officials in Cincinnati have been busy hiring employees as they prepare to unveil the complete rebrand of an Ohio casino.

A deal was struck in 2019 between Hard Rock International and VICI Properties for the $745 million purchase of the JACK Cincinnati Casino. Part of the deal includes that the casino is leased to the Hard Rock.

The intention was to transform the property into the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati.

The JACK Cincinnati Casino first opened in 2013 and featured 100,000 square feet of gaming space with about 1,800 gaming machines and 100 table games. Additionally, the property had 33,000 square feet of meeting space, six restaurants and two bars.

Phase one of a rebranding effort began after the deal was made but was significantly slowed by the pandemic, which hit all U.S. casino operations hard.

George Goldhoff is president of the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati, which is expected to be fully unveiled this summer. (Photo courtesy Hard Rock)

In Ohio, casinos were mandated to close from March 13, 2020, through June 19, 2020. When allowed to reopen, there were restrictions on alcohol sales and mandatory curfews.

In November 2020, for example, there was a statewide curfew which required the casino to close at 10 p.m. Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati’s president George Goldhoff told the Cincinnati Business Courier recently that at the time, the casino had to start the process of closing even earlier to make sure customers were gone by 10 p.m.

“That affected us in a big way,” he said. “We do a lot of our business in the evening time.”

Goldhoff said several projects at the property were paused, including work on a Hard Rock Hotel.

“We still have plans to do a Hard Rock Hotel, but we wanted to get through phase one [of the rebranding] first,” he told the Courier. “In parallel, we’re doing our research on what type of hotel, size, amenities.”

Covid-19 curfew restrictions were lifted in February and the rebranding efforts began in earnest once again. A Rock Shop opened in April and a Hard Rock Café – with a stage and dance floor for live music events – is nearing completion, too. The rebrand includes a Council Oak restaurant and Hard Rock memorabilia will be featured throughout the property.

“One of the most important symbolic things we did was in January when we pulled up the old carpet … that was installed in 2013 and made way for this beautiful new carpet that’s the Hard Rock standard that you’d find everywhere from Atlantic City to Hollywood,” Goldhoff told the Courier.

Goldhoff said he expects to host a grand opening event to officially unveil the rebranding and new amenities sometime in July.

The Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati is located on 22 acres in the Broadway Commons area of the city’s downtown district. The Seminole Tribe of Florida is the parent entity of Hard Rock International. Click here for more information.

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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at damonscott@semtribe.com.
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