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MGM will take over operation of Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park

September 20, 2018

MGM will take over operation of Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park

NORTHFIELD, Ohio - MGM Resorts International announced this week that early next year it would assume operating control of the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, Ohio’s top revenue generating casino or racino.

A related company, MGM Properties, in July paid $1 billion to buy the racino, but had kept the Rocksino team on as operator of the facility, which is located between Cleveland and Akron.

The change announced in a news release Wednesday states that MGM will operate the facility and employ the workers. But the release was silent on whether there would be a name change.

A spokesman declined to answer that or other questions on Thursday.

“We don’t have anything to add beyond the news release at this time. Additional operational announcements will be made in the future,” Brian Ahern, director of corporate media relations for MGM Resorts International, said in an email response to cleveland.com.

A statement in the news release attributed to MGM Resorts Chairman Jim Murren said: “We are pleased to welcome the Hard Rock Rocksino and more than 700 employees to the MGM Resorts family and look forward to working with them during this transition.”

The switchover is expected to occur during the first half of 2019, the news release said.

The Hard Rocksino opened in December 2013. It is one of seven slots-only racinos operated under licensing by the Ohio Lottery Commission. Unlike Ohio’s four casinos, it cannot offer table games.

Slot-machine revenue in the last year, after paying out winnings, totaled $246.5 million, a fourth of the total statewide.

The 110-acre complex just south of the Cuyahoga-Summit county border has 2,300 slot machines, multiple restaurants, a concert venue and harness track.

It first opened in 1934 as Sportsman’s Park, intended for greyhound racing, but became an auto track before harness racing began on the site in 1957.

Carl Milstein, George Steinbrenner and other investors bought the facility in 1972 for $7.5 million. Hard Rock and Brock Milstein, son of the late Carl Milstein, formed a joint venture in 2012, a year ahead of the Rocksino’s opening. 

Since the sale of the Rocksino, reports have circulated that JACK Entertainment, headed by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, may be looking to sell. Its operations include casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati and racino in North Randall just southeast of Cleveland.

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