Last week, Hard Rock International announced plans to open a major new hotel in Ireland. Scheduled to open in 2020, Hard Rock Hotel Dublin will inject Ireland's biggest city with 120 new guest rooms and a rocking music program befitting of the city's musical roots.
But Hard Rock Hotel Dublin isn't the only new property that Hard Rock let out of the bag last week: News also quietly broke that the company will build a new gaming resort in rural Yuba County, Calif., approximately an hour north of Sacramento.
According to local newspaper The Sacramento Bee, the resort is being developed in partnership with the Enterprise Rancheria Indian tribe, which has been trying to build a tribal casino since 2003. Expected to open in October 2019 at an estimated cost of $440 million, the property remains mostly a mystery, as neither Hard Rock nor Enterprise Rancheria has released project details. According to the latter's website, however, the tribe envisions a "multi-function facility, featuring a 170-room hotel and pool, restaurants, bar, gift shops, tourist information, conference facilities, gaming and more."
"The Enterprise Rancheria is thrilled and honored to work with Hard Rock International, one of the world's most recognized brands," tribal Chairwoman Glenda Nelson said in a statement. "Together, our goal is to bring the best, most exciting and authentic gaming, hospitality and entertainment experiences to Northern California."
Unexpected Gaming Alternatives Abound
Although Sacramento isn't the first place that comes to mind for a gaming meeting, the new development is indicative of a larger trend: As gaming continues to gain popularity and political support in cash-strapped states, casino hotels are rising up in unexpected destinations across the country, including rural, suburban and urban locations that are a far cry -- geographically and culturally -- from the bright lights of Las Vegas and the boardwalks of Atlantic City.
Here are four other properties in surprising spots whose recent openings or expansions confirm that when it comes to gaming meetings, meeting planners have more options than ever before.