Baseball and the Hard Rock in Cincinnati By Ken Adams, CDC Gaming Reports October 10, 2021 at 7:31 pm Cincinnati is a baseball town and since 2013, it has also been a casino town. The city has one casino, which is in the process of changing its identity again. It opened in 2013 as a Horseshoe Casino. In 2016, Jack Entertainment bought the property. In 2019, Vici Properties, along with the Hard Rock Corporation, purchased Jack Casino. Vici now owns the real estate, Hard Rock the casino operations. Vici paid $745 million for the physical assets. Hard Rock paid $187 million for the casino operations and will pay rent of $43 million a year to Vici for the building. The casino generated $168.9 million in nine months this year and $142.7 million in pandemic-plagued 2020. Its best year was 2014, when it generated $197 million. The Jack brand did not live up to expectations; in its best year, it generated $186 million in gaming revenue. Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati Hard Rock is hoping its world-famous brand will bring the success and profits that its predecessors did not. The real test of the new brand will come in 2022, when the effects and aftereffects of the pandemic are no longer factors. In any case, after the remodeling and rebranding, Hard Rock Cincinnati will be ready for its grand opening on October 29. Although much of the operation opened early, the guitar has not yet been smashed; no Hard Rock is complete without that ritual. To go along with smashing the guitar, Hard Rock has invited Pete Rose to place the first official bet. Although Rose has been out of baseball for more than 30 years, he is still an icon for the city of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Reds. Rose as a player and manager brought the team more success than any other person. Thus, having Pete there for the all-important grand opening makes perfect marketing sense. Cincinnati is a baseball town and Pete Rose is Cincinnati’s baseball man. But Pete comes with some baggage and that adds the ultimate in irony to the moment. Besides being famous as one of the best baseball players who ever played the game, Pete Rose is also infamous for being a gambler. It has been alleged that Pete gambled on sports while a player and a manager, including betting on the Reds. Pete has admitted it. It has kept him out of the Baseball Hall of Fame and deprived of any association with professional baseball. Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire were accused of using steroids and therefore neither is eligible for the Hall of Fame. However, both have been able to work for baseball teams as coaches. Pete has been persona non grata; banning Pete took on an almost religious-crusade nature for the commissioner of baseball. In the 21st century, that attitude has become archaic. In August 2021, 20 states reported sports betting revenue of $200 million; more than $3 billion was wagered on sporting events during the month, most of it on baseball. Major sports leagues have joined the casinos, bookies, and media in not only accepting sports gambling, but profiting from it. Ironically, the commissioner of baseball led the change in attitude. But Pete Rose is still not in the Hall of Fame or welcome in the baseball family. He still sits on the sidelines watching. Rose is starting his own podcast: “Pete Rose’s Daily Picks.” In a car Shutterstock efully worded press release, he said it was handicapping not gambling. Pete Rose is 80 years old. He left baseball in 1989. It is time for Major League Baseball to get over itself. Pete is guilty of nothing that Commissioner Rob Manfred and the league are not doing now, including taking bets on the home team. If Rose had thrown a game to win a bet, that would be another issue entirely; he did not. He was competitive to the point of being obsessive, so mostly he bet on his team, meaning himself. He believed he could win both the game and the bet. It was chutzpah, not a crime. Baseball can and should keep the 1919 Chicago Black Sox in jail. Members of that team fixed the game, losing on purpose, so gamblers could collect on their bets. Game-fixing is still a threat to all sports. As sports betting sweeps the nation, it is important to remember that threat. It is necessary to be vigilant and on guard against corruption in the play of sports. Pete Rose was not a threat to the integrity of baseball during his career. And he certainly is no threat to it now. It is time for the commissioner to publicly pardon Rose. In fact, Rob Manfred should be in Cincinnati on October 29. He should be in the Hard Rock Casino and sit down with Pete Rose. Manfred should place his own bet beside Pete’s. Pete deserves it, but so do the Reds and Cincinnati.