Last Ohio casino gets set to open

Cocktail servers in red bustiers and short, black skirts carried around cocktails, dealers practiced taking chips and doling out winnings, and slot machines chimed as the last of four voter-approved casinos in Ohio geared up Tuesday for its opening in less than a week.
Associated Press
Feb 26, 2013



Minus the gamblers, the $400 million Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati looked every bit like a fully functioning casino during a preview for members of the media.
"Bring the dice in! What are you waiting for?" yelled a supervisor at a craps table where dealers took turns pretending to gamble and testing themselves. They mimicked what a real craps table will be like, with clapping, cheers of "Woo hoo!" and plenty of shouting.
The workers also were preparing for a dry run of the sleek two-story, 400,000-square-foot casino on Wednesday, when about 30 agents with the Ohio Casino Control Commission will be on the lookout for problems big and small.
While the casino already has its gambling license, it must pass the commission's test on Wednesday in order to open to the public on Monday.
If all the issues are minor, the casino would get the go-ahead by the end of the week. If any major operational problems arise, the opening could be delayed.
"Think of it as a dress rehearsal," said Matt Schuler, executive director of the commission. "It's an opportunity for the casino and its employees to show they can do everything by the book — security, surveillance, all financial transactions, the movement of the money from the floor to the count room. We will watch everything."
Casinos in Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus all opened last year on time after their dry runs.
The invite-only dry run is for family, friends and business partners of the casino's staff, and is closed to members of the media and general public. They'll be gambling at the casino's 2,000 slot machines and 87 table games, with all proceeds going to charity.
The facility also includes a buffet, a VIP players' lounge with limits as high as $50,000 a hand, a World Series of Poker room, and three outward-facing restaurants, including singer Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville and Bobby's Burger Palace by celebrity chef Bobby Flay.
Of Ohio's three other casinos, Cincinnati's is most similar to Cleveland's because both are in their city's downtowns and within easy walking distance of local attractions and hotels.
While Cleveland's casino is in a historic building, Cincinnati's was built from the ground up on what used to be a crumbling parking lot.
Ohio voters approved four casinos in 2009 after a statewide legalization campaign touted the immediate boost the casinos would give to Ohio's economy. The state collects 33 percent in taxes from the casinos, which is distributed to Ohio's schools, counties and cities.
So far, profits have fallen short of expectations.
Supporters had predicted the four casinos could earn just under $2 billion a year once they were all up and running, which would generate about $643 million in taxes for schools, counties and cities.
Since they opened, the casinos in Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus have earned just under $404 million through the end of January, generating about $133 million in taxes. Once all four are up and running, their yearly revenues are now expected to be just under $1 billion.
Schuler cited the economic climate and storefront gambling-style operations in the state known as Internet cafes.
Customers at more than 800 such cafes in the state pay for Internet time or phone cards and use them to bet points on computers loaded with games such as poker.
The state is unable to collect any money from those operations, and Ohio legislators are considering a bill that would regulate the industry.
Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati had been expected to generate $111 million in gambling tax revenue every year, but that figure is now expected to be closer to $75 million, according to the commission.
The casino is the latest in a string of major, transformative projects in downtown Cincinnati, including a $322 million, 41-story office tower that opened in 2011 and now monopolizes the city's skyline, a $600 million retail and residential development in the half-mile between the Bengals and Reds stadiums known as The Banks, and a new streetcar line slated to open in 2016.
In the nearby Over-the-Rhine historic district, dozens of shabby but beautiful buildings have been transformed into popular bars and restaurants, and the once crime-prone Washington Park underwent a $48 million overhaul to become one of the city's favorite spots for concerts, outdoor movie viewings and flea markets.
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Wonder how much of the casino money went towards the new stadium at Perkins HS?


LOL....good question.


Just this wk., the NJ & NV governors signed bills enacting on-line instate gambling.

OH needs to get ahead of the curve. Bricks and mortar casinos are dinosaurs.

With on-line gaming, OH will be able to extract more "stupid tax" money from dupes even easier!

The Bizness

I agree it should be legal, but I would never gamble online and I am younger. I just was at Cleveland's casino this weekend and had a good time. Actually won a few bucks. Brick and Mortar casinos are not going anywhere, people of my generation want the experience, it isn't about just gambling.


@ The Bizness:

During the Great Recession, Las Vegas saw a 50% plus decline in traffic. Lotsa people laid off.

Casinos goin' bankrupt in NJ.

Risky, risky.

My point: IMO, there's little need for OH to build anymore - it ain't the future.

I bought a $1.00 quick pick for my birthday one yr. I won $3.00. I pocketed the $2.00 and bet the remaining dollar. I lost.

100% ROI is enough gambling for me.

Zero sum games are for suckers, because if one plays long enough, one will ALWAYS lose.

The Bizness

I get what your saying, but I will only go to brick and mortar casino, so the market will be out there. I wouldn't be caught dead in a "game of skill" place, or betting money online.


@ The Bizness:

Hey! You like 'em, I hope they stick around for ya.

Few investors hang out at stock exchanges anymore. In fact most exchanges are shutting down their floors because most trading is done electronically.

I've been in casinos in OK and LA - mostly Soc. Sec. "blue hairs" and welfare recipients. Too (bleepin') smoky!

IMO, gambling is just a good way to recycle tax dollars anyway since it adds nothing to productivity which is how an economy is grown.

The best way to make money on gambling? Own a casino.

Keep an eye on (ZNGA) as a possible winner in the on-line gambling sector.

The Bizness

ZNGA has always been one to watch since they started. Have you been to Clevelands? It almost feels like being in the 50's at times with the decor, very classy, and no smoke which is great.

The most I take to spend at a casino is 20$ and I rarely spend all of it.

I really don't understand how people can stay in a casino for hours and hours and burn through a few hunder dollars or more.

Now imagine people sitting in their underwear at home doing the same thing, it is insane!


@ The Bizness:

Made a couple hundred bucks by buying (ZNGA) and then selling in about one wk. when (FB) was about to go public.

I ONLY step foot in a casino if my spouse wants to go. She enjoys that caca. Cleve - someday.

I used to work in downtown Cleve, haven't been back in decades. Might be interesting to see.

The Bizness

Yeah check it out, go to Ohio City, West 6th and Tower City, and University Cirlce. Very nice nowadays.


Contango....while I won't disagree with you about online gambling.....there is a problem keeping the profit money in Ohio once you go online. People love the sound of the machines and the live feeling of Casinos.


@ arnmcrmn:

Don't know. You'll need to ask the officials of NV, NJ and DL how they intend to keep their piece of the action.

On-line gaming is pretty much a world-wide phenomenon.

Many brick and mortar stores lost revenue or eventually went outa business when on-line shopping became available. Gotta think that gaming will have similar issues.