After receiving backing from the zoning council of the city of Ottawa, the Hard Rock Raceway and Casino will go ahead with their plans to expand. This redevelopment will cost around CA$318 million in renovations and as a multi-phase expansion plan will run over a period of five years before it is fully completed. Phase one is due to begin in the summer, which shouldn’t cause much disruption. This first phase will include internal renovations to the existing casino by adding 35 gaming tables and redesigning the parking area. However, this is only the beginning of what’s to come as the Rideau Carleton Raceway also plans to add on a hotel and a concert theatre. Here’s a deeper look at what all to expect from this multi-million makeover.
Expansion Plan – Phase Two
Phase two of this massive expansion plan will include the addition of the famous Steakhouse Restaurant, Hard Rock Live music venue, Hard Rock Café, Velvet Lounge, as well as 20 additional gaming tables on top of phase one’s extra 35 gaming tables. In addition to all this, they also plan to add 750 slot machines to the casino floor. However, this will all only be completed by 2019 before the final phase begins. Here are some interesting statistics to look at with regards to these exciting upgrades.
- Hard Rock Casino predicts they will contribute more than CA$12 million from gambling revenue to the city after its expansion is complete. They currently bring CA$6 million to the city.
- 750 slots will be added to the existing 1,250 machines, which isn’t part of a maximum zoning restriction number like table games are.
- The Hard Rock concert theatre will seat 2,500 people.
- The hotel will stand nine stories high and have 200 rooms available.
Expansion Plan – Phase Three
The third and final phase of the construction and renovations will be due to be completed in 2023. This will include the complete construction of the Hard Rock hotel and parking garage. Horse racing will continue as normal on the raceway facility during the upgrades. The entire project will be funded by the Hard Rock and Rideau Carleton Raceway. After the first ten years of operating with the upgrades, the expansion is estimated to bring in around CA$43 million in newly generated revenue for the city of Ottawa.
The Losing Voter’s Side of the Story
The vote was decided in favour of the upgrade by a big scale of 18-5. However, not many have heard the side of the five who voted against the expansion and necessary land-use rules of Hard Rock and the raceway. Here’s a list of the issues that were up for contention.
- The city currently regulates the number of gaming tables. However, there is no cap on the number of slot machines a casino may have. This law was not included in the zoning bylaw in 2013.
- Problem gambling was another major concern for those who voted against the expansion.
- Some councillors wanted to restrict the growth of gambling activities by instead directing gambling revenues to more health programs.
Nonetheless, all these concerns were ignored with the vote favouring the upgrade in the end. This leaves the city of Ottawa to see what comes of the expansion once it is complete.