Hard Rock clears hurdle to operate Rideau Carleton Raceway as Ottawa casino

Casino

Florida-based Hard Rock International inched closer to taking over operations of the Rideau Carleton Raceway this week after a city committee voted to turn the Albion Road property into a full gaming site.

The issue now goes before full council for approval. The city says Hard Rock is poised to take over operations of the Rideau Carleton Raceway later this month.

In May, the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp. said Hard Rock would spend $320 million to construct a new hotel, a live entertainment venue and more than 13,000 square metres of gaming space for slots and card games.

The massive revamp of the existing raceway facility will result in an “electrifying, integrated entertainment destination” that will create more than 1,900 construction-related jobs and 2,000 “ongoing jobs and opportunities” in the city, officials said at the time.

Under the agreement, Hard Rock will take over the day-to-day operations of the casino from the province this fall for a term of 20 years.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the city’s finance and economic development committee, councillors Keith Egli and Diane Deans expressed concerns about the public health implications of a new casino.

“For most people, (gambling) is fine. It’s a form of entertainment, it’s a night out,” said Egli after the committee meeting. “But there are people in the community who can’t deal with it. It’s an addiction, it’s invasive in their lives, and those are the people that I’m worried about.”

Ottawa residents can submit comments to the city online on the new casino until Sept. 13.

– With a report by Metro News.