Canadian NHL team the Ottawa Senators have struck a partnership deal with the Rideau Carleton Raceway Casino in Ontario, an affiliation which will make the property the team’s “official casino.”
While it’s mostly a sponsorship deal, the pact will also see the Senators build a Hard Rock lounge at its arena. The 1,500-square-foot bar will overlook all the action on the ice and will “shape and energize the fan experience,” according to team officials.
The Rideau Carleton Raceway Casino will eventually be rebranded into a Hard Rock property. The venue confirmed the new deal over Twitter this week. The company is in midst of a massive, $318-million renovation of the facility.
Rocking Out North of the Border
It’s the latest expansion for the company which has been doing plenty of it in recent years.
Owned by Florida’s Seminole Tribe, Hard Rock recently took up residence in New Jersey when it purchased the former Trump Taj Mahal property, which had been shut down in late 2016. The company put some $300 million towards that rebuild. And while the Atlantic City casino was recently reopened, executive shifts came only four months into the new operation.
Hard Rock is now bringing a similar investment to Ottawa after winning the bidding process to help revitalize the city’s only casino last year.
The plan is to expand the gaming floor to include 20 new gaming tables and 750 slot machines. But the biggest changes will happen outside the casino: Hard Rock is helping to build a nine-story, 200-room hotel, as well as a 2,500-seat theater, and a slew of new restaurants.
The casino developer also had to offer assurances to city council that it would pitch in to upgrade the roads surrounding the casinos before it won final approval to move ahead with the renovation.
The deal between Hard Rock and the Senators is part of a growing trend in the sports world.
In the weeks following the Supreme Court decision to overturn a federal ban on US sports betting, William Hill’s CEO predicted that sports franchises would be flocking to casinos in an attempt to secure new sponsorship deals.
Even the NFL is getting on board.
Long one of the staunchest opponents to legalized sports betting in the US, the NFL recently announced that it would allow its franchises to team up with casinos. The Dallas Cowboys struck the first such partnership with the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Oklahoma in September.
Meanwhile, the NBA became the first professional league in North America to join forces with a casino and sports book operator. A deal with MGM will give the casino exclusive access to the league’s official data for its sports betting operations.