Casino News

Hard Rock Ends Monopoly on Gaming Tables in Ottawa

The construction of a full-fledged casino in the Ottawa has been a slog for quite some time. After lengthy debates, it became clear that the Rideau Carleton Raceway will undergo a C$320 million expansion that includes a hotel, a music venue and 140,000 square feet of gaming space for slot machines and table games.

In 2015, OLG introduced its “Modernization Plan” and the process of privatizing the gaming operations at race tracks in 2015.Last fall, Hard Rock International entered into a joint venture to bid for the license to run the casino. The Hard Rock Casino Ottawa partnership consists of HR LP Investor Inc. (owned by Hard Rock International) and RCR Investor Inc. (owned by Rideau Carleton Raceway Holdings Limited).

The Rideau Carleton Raceway has been in operation since 1962 and since then the raceway has held continuous standard bred racing ever since. Slots for racing were introduced in 2000 at the site, but Premier McGuinty’s government cancelled slots for racing in 2013. Following the acquisition of the raceway, Hard Rock International unveiled its ambitious plan to build a full-fledged casino resort and install gaming tables in the facility. In that way, Hard Rock Casino Ottawa is to end Casino du Lac-Leamy long-standing monopoly on the table games in Ottawa.

Table games were just added to the Rideau Carleton Raceway, Ottawa CTV News reported yesterday. It is expected that the competition between the two gambling facilities is to be fierce. The media spokesperson for the Casino Lac-Leamy, Catherine Schellenberg explained that the competition is actually a good thing. She added that Casino Lac-Leamy did not experience any economic slowdown or a drop in visitors. Ms. Schellenberg elaborated that there are enough casino gambling fans on both sides of the Ottawa River.

Hard Rock Casino Ottawa to Expand Gambling Industry in Ottawa

In fact, the construction of a second full-fledged casino in Ottawa has turned into a hot button for the officials at the Casino du Lac Leamy in Gatineau. Ever since Hard Rock’s casino plan has been laid on the table, Casino du Lac Leamy in Gatineau has kept their eyes peeled on the new, full-fledged casino project. In fact, Hard Rock’s proposal for the construction of a full-fledged casino could scrap Casino du Lac Leamy monopoly on the gaming tables in the area.

Striving to keep its share on the gambling market in Ottawa, Casino du Lac Leamy unveiled an ambitious renovation plan. The company behind the casino put a C$47.3 million price tag to that project, which aimed at rejuvenating the interior of the Gatineau casino.

Under the city’s zoning, the gambling operator is allowed to add 21 gaming tables and the number of slots is expected to increase slightly to 1,250. Last November, Hard Rock International applied to expand the allowed number of gaming tables from 21 to 35. The company filed its application with the committee of adjustment, a quasi-judicial body that deals with minor changes to zoning rules.

That vexed many officials, who claimed that Hard Rock tried to sneakily receive the approval, avoiding the Council approval. Responding to the verbal attacks, Hard Rock explained that the addition of 14 more gaming tables is a minor variance and that is the reason why the company filed its application with the quasi-judicial body. Eventually, the committee of adjustment panel gave the go-ahead to Hard Rock’s proposal to expand the number of gaming tables to 35.