Hard Rock International is looking to partner with Rideau Carleton Raceway, in order to expand its casino operations to the Canadian capital, Ottawa. Hard Rock unveiled plans for a $320 million project that will include a new hotel, a live entertainment venue, and more than 13,000 square meters of gaming space for slots and card games. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) announced Monday that Hard Rock was selected as the preferred bidder for the gambling project.
The proposed expansion of the existing raceway will bring a number of changes to the facility, as well as the community. During the construction of the expansion, more than 1,900 people are expected to be employed, with nearly 2,00 permanent jobs following the completion of the expansion. This will all be in an effort to bring a Las Vegas-style casino, Hard Rock Hotel, and Hard Rock Café to the city of Ottawa. As of now there is no time frame in which the expansion is set to conclude, but when all is said and done the Rideau Carleton Raceway will be rebranded as the Hard Rock Casino Ottawa.
“We’re thrilled to have been chosen by OLG to create Hard Rock Casino Ottawa,” Jim Allen, the chairman of Hard Rock International said in a statement. “This is a crucial first step towards a larger strategic vision of our world-class brand’s expansion efforts in Ontario and throughout Canada. We are honored to partner with RCR, a reputable and longstanding member of the Ottawa community, and look forward to working with both the RCR and OLG team members through the transition and beyond.”
Hard Rock International operates 175 restaurants, 24 hotels and 11 casinos across the globe. The proposed expansion gives Hard Rock control of the day-to-day operations of the casino starting this fall, for a period of 20 years. The current structure was established in 1962 and has since hosted harness horse racing events. The property also offers slot machines, a bingo parlor, and a sports bar, with a few additional options. The very first phase of the project is expected to be ready within the first year of operations.
The racetrack generates revenue for the city and the proposed expansion will hopefully be mutually beneficial for Ottawa and Hard Rock International. The City of Ottawa has said it will allow no more than 21 new gaming tables to the 1,250 existing slot machines at The Rideau Carleton Racetrack. The existing building brings in roughly $5 million each year for the city. In addition, the new operating agreement will stop taxpayers from funding capital expenditures, such as maintenance and renovations on the building.
The Rideau Carleton Racetrack is just one of many recent business moves made by Hard Rock International. The global casino brand also expressed interest in entering competition for a Japanese casino license earlier this year. This decision to pursue a casino project in Japan came shortly after the country announced that they would be legalizing casino-style games, in an attempt to draw tourists from across the globe, much like Macau has in recent years. Hard Rock international also took possession of the former Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City in March and has since begun a $350 million renovation that is set to open next summer.