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Will New Casino Boost - Or Bust - Local Businesses?

Monday, May 14, 2012 at 11:42 AM

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In just a few hours, Ohio's first casino will open in downtown Cleveland, and expectations are mixed as to how it will mesh with other local businesses. Ideastream's Brian Bull reports.

Photo Gallery

Many business owners are betting on a ripple effect payoff from casino visitors (pic by Brian Bull) The Horseshoe has three restaurants, a 400-seat buffet, and two bars...which concerns local eateries (pic by Brian Bull) Local taverns may also find themselves competing with the Horseshoe's elegant and competitive bars (pic by Brian Bull) Horseshoe operators say there'll be plenty of runoff business for local industries to enjoy (pic by Brian Bull) Whether gamblers will spread their cash across downtown or just in the Horseshoe remains to be seen (pic by Brian Bull)

One Rock Gaming official describes the Horseshoe Casino’s design as “inside out” - people can see neighboring restaurants, bars, hotels, and shops from inside, and - in theory - will be encouraged to check them out. 

Dan Walsh is president of Huntington Bank for the Greater Cleveland Region, and a board member with the regional marketing group Team NEO.  He applauds the Horseshoe’s design and location. 

“The way they’ve positioned the casino, is that it’s complementary to the surrounding businesses,” says Walsh. “So we expect to see a great ripple effect to restaurants, and all the retailers near the casino, so it should be a pretty exciting outcome for all of us.”

But not everyone’s convinced, including Cleveland resident Shavonne Amor.  She works in a downtown donut shop, and is certain that once gamblers reach the casino, they’ll stay put. 

“If their purpose is just to gamble, they’re not trying to spend their money nowhere else.  They might get in their car and just go home!” laughs Amor. 

When asked if she herself will go inside the Horseshoe, Amor shakes her head. 

“Oh no!  I’m a poor loser...I won’t do it!  If I spend 50 cents and I don’t get at least 25 back, I’m gonna be mad, so I’m not even gonna chance it.  I don’t even do scratch-offs!”

The Horseshoe Casino’s projected to draw in 5 million people, and drum up nearly $30 million annually for the City of Cleveland through gaming taxes.

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Economy, Regional Economy/Business - News, Community/Human Interest

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