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Hard Rock Cincinnati opens; $70 million hotel on tap

Former Cincinnati Reds baseball player Pete Rose, 80, signed guitars at the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati grand opening Oct. 29. (Photo via Facebook)

The Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati officially opened Oct. 29 with a traditional guitar smash, live music and throngs of eager casino customers.

Chairman Marcellus W. Osceola, Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola and Big Cypress Councilwoman Marian Billie were on hand for the festivities, along with Hard Rock officials and celebrities like former Cincinnati Reds baseball player Pete Rose. Rose, who is 80-years-old, placed the first table bet and signed a guitar that was added to the casino’s memorabilia collection. Legendary band Earth, Wind & Fire performed live.

The site began its transformation into Hard Rock Cincinnati after a deal was struck in 2019 between Hard Rock International and VICI Properties for a $745 million purchase of the JACK Cincinnati Casino. The Seminole Tribe is the parent entity of Hard Rock International.

Phase one of the rebranding efforts began after the deal was made but was significantly slowed by the pandemic, which hit all U.S. casino operations hard. After Covid-19 curfew restrictions were lifted the rebranding efforts began again. A Rock Shop opened in April 2021 and a Hard Rock Café – with a stage and dance floor for live music events – was completed soon after. The rebrand included a Council Oak restaurant and Hard Rock memorabilia featured throughout the property.

The Seminole Tribe’s Chairman, Marcellus W. Osceola Jr., welcomed the crowd at the event. (Photo via Facebook)

The development was also to include a Hard Rock Hotel, but those plans were paused, until now. Hard Rock officials announced Nov. 1 its plan to build a $70 million hotel located adjacent to the casino.

Hard Rock’s chief operating officer, Jon Lucas, told Gambling News that the hotel is a crucial piece to the ongoing success of the property. He said with the addition of a hotel, customers would be less rushed to drive back home or book lodging elsewhere in the Cincinnati area.

There’s no official hotel completion date, but Lucas expects construction to move along steadily because Hard Rock already had plans drawn up and a feasibility study completed with its brand partners.

The hotel is expected to have 300 rooms, including several luxury suites. It would include a fitness center and spa as well as other amenities.

Hard Rock Cincinnati is located on 22 acres in the Broadway Commons area of the city’s downtown district. The only other Hard Rock property in the state is the Hard Rock Cafe Pittsburgh, about 300 miles away.

More is at hardrock.com.

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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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