Like many other states, Ohio has had many forms of gambling such as Bingo, lottery, horse racing and even underground casinos to entice the state's residents. However, as recently as November 2008 on Ohio ballot Issue 6 to build a casino and resort in Clinton County, a large majority of voters defeated a bill that would have allowed a casino and shared revenues with 88 counties.
However, after four consecutive defeats, the November 2009 bill, propped-up by Penn National and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's efforts and a combined $35 million in promotions, was finally passed in favor of four new casinos in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo. Striking a happy and fanciful tone, Penn National president David Wilmott estimated that the four casinos were likely to be completed within two years. He was a little optimistic.
Lakes Entertainment and Caesars joined in the fray with "operations" expertise and the ground-breaking eventually happened for all four of the new casinos. In December 2011, 16,000 applicants swamped the offices of the new Cleveland Horseshoe casino and the other casinos were equally busy sifting though thousands of applications of their own. Things looked good for new employees, but construction delays sprang-up across the state and the timeline for opening drifted towards late 2012 and Ohio's seven horse-racing tracks fought for the right to offer slot machines at their own locations.
What to Expect When the Casinos Open
The casino bill was passed with the promise of jobs for locals, and so far the results look good. Thousands of Ohio applicants have been accepted into new casino jobs, many of which will pay well-above minimum wage.
Those new workers are likely to be dealing with mostly local players, as the casinos are not geared towards out-of-state guests. However, bus tours from neighboring states are likely. Ohio's casinos will offer plenty of fun for all players.Cleveland - Horseshoe Casino
Slated to be the first casino opened in Ohio in 2012, the Horseshoe Casino is located at Prospect Avenue and Public Square. The first phase of the casino will be on four floors of the Higbee Building. The second phase located along the Cuyahoga River includes retail and dining to complement the gaming attractions.
Caesars promises up to 100x odds on craps and $10,000 limits on all table games. They also promise $500 slots in their high-limit area. Bring your cash!
With over 2000 slot machines planned for 100,000 square feet, the casino will be rather cozy (or crazy) and included 65 table games and 25 poker tables. Dining facilities include plans for a 400-seat buffet and a food court.Cincinnati - Horseshoe Casino
Continuing Caesars' Horseshoe brand with Dan Gilbert's rock Gaming, the Cincinnati casino is expected to open in Spring 2013 as a completely new building and venue.
The casino will follow the lead of the Cleveland facility and offer the same 100,000 square feet of gaming space with the same 2,100 slot machines. However, Caesars anticipates more table game players and will open with 85 games plus 32 poker tables.
Located on Broadway Street near Central Parkway, the facility is expected to lead the way in revitalizing the downtown area. More restaurants are planned than in Cleveland with the addition of a coffee shop and a steakhouse to go with a buffet and food court.Columbus - Hollywood Casino
After several starts and stops, the Columbus casino is now expected to open its doors in late 2012. Situated on a 123-acre site on Georgesville Road at West Broad Street, the location is going to be easy to locate near Interstate 270.
Owned and operated by Penn National Gaming, the new facility will feature up to 3,000 slots across the 130,000 square foot casino. Penn anticipates the need for 70 table games and a 30-table poker room.
Dining choices include the Epic Buffet and Final Cut Steakhouse. Casual dining will also be available with a sports bar and cocktail lounge.Toledo - Hollywood Casino
Located right off of I-75 on the banks of the Maumee River, the Toledo casino is at 1968 Miami Street, across the river from downtown Toledo. Planned fro an opening near the end of 2012, the facility will offer a 1930's, Art Deco theme.
The casino will boast a 125,000 square foot facility with 2,000 slots and 60 table games. A 20-table poker room is also planned. The same amenities as the Columbus Hollywood are slated for Toledo with the Epic Buffet, Final Cut Steakhouse, and a sports bar and cocktail lounge.