Hard Rock International Expands Casino Operations in Ottawa

Casino developer and operator Hard Rock International is set to expand its operations to Canada’s capital Ottawa, local media has reported.

The company is yet to reveal more information about its latest expansion venture, but it has become known that it is planning to build a casino at the existing Rideau Carleton Raceway. Hard Rock was selected as the preferred bidder for the gambling project by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the organization responsible for the regulation and licensure of the province’s gambling activities.

The expanded Rideau Carleton will be rebranded into Hard Rock Casino Ottawa. Once construction work is finished, the property will feature Las Vegas-style gambling options, a Hard Rock Hotel, and Hard Rock Café.

It is believed that Hard Rock will invest up to C$320 million to expand the existing property into a full-scale hotel and casino complex. More than 1,900 people are expected to be employed during construction. It is yet to be announced how long Hard Rock Casino Ottawa’s construction will take and when exactly it will open doors.

As reported by Canadian news outlet CTV News the new casino has been allowed by the Ottawa city council to feature no less than 21 table games. More information about the project and its scope will be revealed at a press conference to be held later today.

Rideau Carleton was established back in 1962 and has been hosting harness horse racing events ever since. Aside from its main operations, the property also features slot machines, a bingo parlor, and a sports bar among many other options.

Rideau Carleton will be yet another expansion project undertaken by Hard Rock over the past several months. In March, the major operator announced that it would buy the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City and spend over $350 million on its renovation. Construction work is expected to be completed sometime next summer, with the resort’s iconic minarets being replaced by guitars and other Hard Rock emblems.

Earlier this year, Hard Rock announced that it would also enter competition for a Japanese casino license after the country opened its gambling market to casino-style games. The operator became one of many to eye what is expected to become an extremely lucrative market, one just a little bit smaller in scale than Macau and Singapore.

Hard Rock has initiated expansion efforts outside its domestic market – Florida – at a time when state lawmakers failed to reach an agreement with the operator’s owners, the Seminole Tribe, for another legislative session. Under a 2010 compact, the Seminoles held five-year exclusivity over the provision of blackjack in Florida.

However, the tribe and the state entered a legal battle at the end of that period, with tribal officials arguing that lawmakers had violated the agreement by allowing pari-mutuels to provide blackjack-like games. A deal between the bickering parties has been discussed on several occasions for the past two years, but they have somehow failed to reach an accord.

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