WHEATLAND, Calif. (KTXL) — Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain opened to the public Wednesday after a furious construction schedule.
A guitar smash takes the place of a ribbon-cutting at Hard Rock openings. It goes with the culture of a worldwide entertainment empire centered around rock ‘n’ roll.
The hotel and casino sprouted from farmland in just 15 months. Hours before the public opening, final touches were still being made — but inside it was operating as a soft opening for VIPs.
The interior is standard casino decor with the requisite four-star restaurants and fancy bars. The big distinction comes in the form of 100 pieces of museum quality collectibles from some of the iconic names in rock ‘n’ roll.
The Rock Shop is standard in many of Hard Rock international’s 250 properties around the world.
With half a dozen casinos in the area, Hard Rock hopes to stand apart.
“People know the brand and we really think that will allow us to grow the market, bring people in from all over the region and bring people on from the western part of the United States,” said Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento President Mark Birtha.
Part of the brand is 79-year-old Rita Gilligan who was the first employee hired 50 years ago by two American hippies who couldn’t find a good burger in London.
“The boys brought wholesome, American food topped off with rock ‘n’ roll music,” Gilligan said. “Music is the medicine of life. We all love the music.”
There are now 57,000 employees worldwide and 1,300 of them are at the new Hard Rock. Seventy percent of them come from the Yuba/Sutter area, which was a promise fulfilled by the owners.
“It really is about bringing the jobs and the opportunities using local vendors,” said Enterprise Rancheria tribal chairperson Glenda Nelson. “We have made sure that along with the partnership of Hard Rock to do that.”
Along with the table games, there are 1,500 slot machines in the casino.
The 170-room hotel has meeting rooms, a pool and spa area, and six restaurants. Entertainment is featured at the Toyota Amphitheatre down the road.
“The focus was not just having gaming in a box, it was to have all the amenities,” Birtha said. “So, even if you don’t come here and even spend a dollar in a slot machine, you can come have a great resort experience.”
Whether it will be as successful as envisioned remained to be seen, but on the first day the spirit and enthusiasm were evident.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week beginning Wednesday night.
The kick-off music event for the casino will be Def Leppard, who will play at the nearby amphitheater on Saturday night.