Hard Rock Rocksino makes final touches for Dec. 18 opening

NORTHFIELD, Ohio - Inside the new $268 million Hard Rock Rocksino, final preparations are underway for the Dec. 18 grand opening.

The 200,000 square-foot slots-only casino - with three entrances and 3,000 parking spots - will feature a Las Vegas style feel.

Gallery: Inside Hard Rock Rocksino at Northfield

Inside you'll find 2,242 slots or VLTs surrounding the Center Bar which attaches to the 250-seat Hard Rock Cafe, the 288-seat Fresh Harvest Buffet and Bernie Kosar's Wood-Fired Grill, a high end steakhouse featuring memorabilia from Kosar's playing career.

 The entertainment and dining options allow visitors to make a major night of it.

"Could you just build a box that has VLTs and be done with it?" asked Rocksino President Jon Lucas. "I guess you could, but we think that what we built here and the money that we've spent to create this beautiful facility gives people a reason to come here versus the competition."

The competition in this case is The Horseshoe Casino Cleveland and the nearby ThistleDown Racino in North Randall. Although they will be competing for Northeast Ohio's gambling dollar Lucas feels the uniqueness of what they will be offering will help attract new customers.

"I think there's still some Ohioans that are heading to Pennsylvania and West Virginia. We hope we can bring them back to the Ohio area," he said.

"With the entertainment aspect and the food and beverage aspect and making it a true entertainment destination, we real think we can grow the market and expand our reach a little further than what's being done now."

In addition to local live entertainment featured at the Hard Rock, the stand alone facility next to the Northfield Park grandstand will feature a comedy club opening early next year and Hard Rock Live, a 2,000-seat venue where bigger national names will play.

The Rocksino has already booked Joan Jett & the Blackhearts to open the place, Night Ranger on Dec. 27, Huey Lewis & the News Jan. 24 and Englebert Humperdinck April 12.

"We've got a long list of acts that we're going to be announcing here shortly that we've just about got confirmed," said Lucas.

The Rocksino staff will go through the process of learning to cook and wait on large crowds as family and friends will be invited in later this week. An invitation-only controlled demonstration with live gaming for charity will take place Monday night leading to Wednesday's grand opening.

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