Cincinnati is home to one of 4 state-approved casinos, the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati.
Opened in July of 2021 (after a $30 million remodeling and rebranding of the former JACK Cincinnati Casino), the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati is a beautiful 450,000 square foot complex that sits on 23 acres in the in the northeast part of downtown.
While this is the only real casino in this city of nearly 300,000, there are, in fact, horse betting tracks, video lottery terminals, and other casinos within a short drive of Cincinnati, (more on that below).
Hard Rock Cincinnati Casino
(Red star on map)
Opened in the spring of 2013, this is the newest of the four Ohio casinos.
Just to north and east of the heart of downtown, Hard Rock Cincinnati Casino is situated on the corner of Eggleston Avenue and the Central Parkway.
Originally called “Horseshoe Cincinnati” it was re-branded as the JACK Cincinnati Casino in June of 2016, then to the Hard Rock in 2021.
It’s real, regular traditional 24 hour-a-day casino, similar to the ones you’ll find in Las Vegas.
The casino floor space is 108,000 square feet, putting it right up there with many of the resorts on the Strip.
Hard Rock Cincinnati has 1,600 slot machines/video poker machines, and close to 100 live table games. These include Let It Ride, Pai Gow, mini-baccarat, traditional blackjack games, along with several blackjack variants, such as free bet blackjack, and “Zappit Blackjack.” In this game, when you are dealt two-card hands totaling 15, 16, 17, or 18 – you can choose to get two new cards.
Since I get dealt 16 nearly every hand (it seems), this game may be up my alley, although I’m unsure as to the house edge on this game.
The casino also has regular live craps games (including games with the fun Fire Bet option and crapless craps), and roulette.
The casino’s 31 table poker room spreads the usual $1/2 No-Limit and higher games, along with $3/6 Limit Hold’em, Omaha, and a host of tournaments including daily tourneys, turbos, deepstacks, etc.
(The map below shows you the Hard Rock Cincinnati Casino (red star), Belterra Park Gaming (black), Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg (purple), Rising Star Casino (green) and Belterra Casino Resort (brown).
Other Hard Rock Cincinnati Casino Amenities
The eating options here include everything from a Starbucks to the new Council Oak Steakhouse to Brick’d Pizza. Of course, there’s also a Hard Rock Cafe.
A meeting space/concert venue, called “The Pavilion” is 33,000 square feet and seats up to 1,500 people. There isn’t a hotel here.
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Hard Rock Cincinnati Casino Parking Fee
The casino has a 5 story garage with room for 2,500 cars attached to the building.
Self-parking is $10. However that fee will be waived should you play 1/2 hour on slots or table games using your Wild Card – Hard Rock’s players card.
Valet parking is still unavailable as of this update. When it was still the JACK Casino, valet parking was $15.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Play at the Hard Rock Cincinnati Casino?
You have to be 21 years or older to player at the Hard Rock Cincinnati Casino.
Hard Rock Cincinnati Address, Phone Number and Website
1000 Broadway Street
Cincinnati, OH. 45202
Phone: (513) 252-0777
Website: Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati
Hotels Near the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati
The closest hotel to the Hard Rock Cincy is the Holiday Inn & Suites Downtown Cincinnati. Located at the corner of E. 7th and Broadway, the Holiday Inn is .3 miles southwest of the casino – or just about five to seven minute walk to the Hard Rock.
Hard Rock Cincinnati’s Road to Opening
In 2009, Ohio voters passed an amendment to the state’s constitution, allowing exactly one casino in each of the state’s four largest cities. As the third most populous city in the state, Cincinnati was permitted to have a casino.
The original casino in this spot was the Horseshoe Cincinnati, which later became the JACK Casino. In April of 2019, it was announced that JACK Cincinnati was being sold to Hard Rock International, (they of the Hard Rock Cafe fame). Ohio State regulators approved the deal in August of 2019.
Cincinnati’s other Semi-Casino
Nine miles southeast of downtown is where you’ll find Belterra Park Gaming.
I call it a “semi-casino” because the 48,000 square foot Belterra Park is a “racino” – a horse racing track without table games, bingo, or slot machines.
Instead, they have 1,300 video lottery terminals, or VLTs.
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While these often look like slot machines, they are more like electronic versions of scratch-off lottery tickets.
Unlike the random number generator found at traditional Las Vegas style slot machines, here you’re playing a game with a pre-determined number of winners and prizes.
Casinos Close to Cincinnati
Other than the VLTs at Belterra Park Gaming, Hard Rock Cincinnati’s only nearby competition are three riverboat casinos across the border in southeast Indiana.
The closest among these three is the Hollywood Casino & Hotel Lawrenceburg in Lawrenceburg, Indiana (purple star on map). It’s a marathon away to the west. Literally.
The Hollywood Casino Hotel Lawrenceburg is exactly a 26.5 mile drive when starting out in downtown Cincinnati (at the intersection of Walnut and E. 6th Streets).
The 26.5 miles will take you between 25 minutes to 40 minutes to drive. On Friday afternoons however, the drive can take in the 50 minute range.
Prior to the Ohio vote allowing casinos, this was the main option for Cincinnati-area gamblers.
However since the Horseshoe (now Hard Rock) Cincinnati Casino opened, gaming revenues at the Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg have dropped 60%, according to an article in the Indianapolis Star.
Hollywood Casino Hotel Lawrenceburg has the usual assortment of over 1,200 slots, 62 table games, along with a 13 table poker room. The Barstool Restaurant and sportsbook boasts 20 TVs, and 25 betting kiosks.
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The two others are:
Belterra Casino Resort (Brown star on map)
Not to be confused with Belterra Park Gaming, this riverboat casino is in located in Florence, Indiana, 51 miles south west of downtown Cincinnati.
It’s usually a drive of between 45 minutes to just over an hour.
Being a riverboat casino means its casino floor is just a little more than 1/3rd the size of Jack Cincinnati. However it does have 700 slot machines, the usual table games and a small poker room. There’s also the FanDuel sportsbook.
Attached to the casino (on land), is a nice 603 room hotel, restaurants, bars, a spa, showroom and golf course.
Rising Star Casino (Green Star)
The only other casino fairly close to Cincinnati is the Rising Star Casino, which is just 39 miles away, but still a 45 minute to 1 hour-plus drive, due to lack of closer bridge access.
Rising Star has about 1,000 slots and video poker machines, table games (including craps and roulette), and the modest TwinSpires sportsbook. It also boasts a 294 room hotel, four restaurants and a showroom. Both a full-service RV Park and the Links at Rising Star Golf Course are near the casino.
By Steve Beauregard. Photos courtesy of the Hard Rock’s media blog, and the Cincinnati USA Visitors & Convention Bureau. Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg photo courtesy of VisitSouthwestIndiana.com