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Hard Rock International is expanding some more. The gaming giant recently entered into an agreement to purchase two gaming facilities from JACK Entertainment. Aside from their Cincinnati casino, JACK also sold Turfway Park, a pari-mutuel establishment in Florence, Kentucky, which is across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

The total figure is $780 million.

The sale should be final later in the year. Procedural issues will also affect a delay, such as approvals that have to be made on the part of both state and federal authorities.

When Will Hard Rock Take Over Jack Casino In Ohio?

Hard Rock will not own the property at which the Cincinnati casino is located; that was bought by VICI Properties, which was involved in a previous land transaction in which JACK sold its Greektown Hotel-Casino in Detroit to the Penn National organization. The Hard Rock will enter into a “favorable triple-net leased fee arrangement” and they are going to embark on upgrading on what will become a re-branded property, to be known, logically enough, as “Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati.”

This would be the second casino destination for Hard Rock in the state of Ohio. The Hard Rock Racino Northfield Park was transferred to MGM Growth Properties last summer for $1.08 billion and is being re-branded.

JACK is very active in the Cleveland area, with the operation of two major facilities – JACK Cleveland Casino and JACK Thistledown Racino (connected to the thoroughbred racetrack there).

Gambling In Cincinnati

The former JACK casino is located on a 22-acre tract (which will now be owned by VICI) in the Broadway Commons area of downtown Cincinnati. And it is a rather spacious casino, with 100,000 square feet of gaming area. Reportedly it was the most popular casino in what is a market with some competition, pulling in $203.5 million in revenues.

Hard Rock wanted to purchase both the casino and the racetrack from JACK. At Turfway they will get both the operation itself and the land. Interestingly, although Turfway has been approved for “historical racing games,” otherwise known as instant racing, they were never installed under JACK Entertainment’s stewardship.

Turfway and Hard Rock Cincinnati won’t be physically connected, obviously. But there is not a whole lot of distance between them, as they are about 15-20 minutes away from each other. While the Hard Rock representatives talked about the improvements to the casino, there wasn’t a whole lot of discussion yet about what they want to do with Turfway Park. Their interest in thoroughbred racing is clear; they are currently involved in some sponsorship deals with leading jockeys in high-profile races.

Caesars bankruptcy Benefits VICI?

VICI Properties professes that “We will be the real estate partner of choice for the world’s leading creators & operators of place-based, scaled leisure & hospitality experiences.” They control more than 39 million square feet of space – 1.2 millions of it designated for gaming – and they the property itself to, among others, Caesars Entertainment Corporation. The CEO is Edward B. Pitoniak. Much of VICI’s original real estate portfolio came as a result of a Caesars bankruptcy, where the real assets were spun off. Pitoniak says that he would like VICI to become the “next great American REIT (real estate investment trust).”

The founder of JACK Entertainment and CEO of its parent company, Rock Ventures, is Dan Gilbert, who is perhaps better known as the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans are as the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. JACK’s special focus in gaming has been to focus on casinos that are located in urban areas, But the number of locations has been reduced. Aside from the Cleveland properties, they are involved in a limited way with the Horseshoe Baltimore casino, but that is all that remains at the moment.

• Source: Dan Gilbert’s JACK Entertainment will sell Cincinnati casino and Kentucky’s Turfway Park to Hard Rock From Cleveland.com On April 5, 2019.

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