The Herald Bulletin

Midday Update

Nation & World

March 4, 2013

Ohio's fourth casino opens to cheers in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI — The last of four voter-approved Ohio casinos announced its opening with a bang on Monday, as fireworks exploded over downtown Cincinnati, club music boomed through the streets and thousands of die-hard gamblers and curious first-timers poured inside.

After more than two years of construction — and about four years after Ohio voters approved of putting casinos in the state to boost jobs and the economy — the $400 million Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati opened to the public with workers cheering on arriving patrons.

The crowd began lining up in frigid temperatures and drizzle more than two hours before the casino opened on what used to be a run-down parking lot. Now it's a two-story, brightly lit casino with a giant glass entrance, three outward facing restaurants and a grand plaza that will be the site of outdoor concerts and other events designed to draw people in.

"Are you excited, Cincinnati!" shouted Mayor Mark Mallory just before the fireworks show and the casino opened.

Mallory said he had wanted Cincinnati's casino to be the first to open in the state. "But we saved the best for last!" he told the crowd.

Many were clearly excited to be the casino's first guests, with some people dancing suggestively and cheering when cameras showed them on a giant screen set up in front of the casino. Others complained about the long wait, the cold, limited parking and other logistics.

"Already it's been a hassle," said Geraldine Parker, a 57-year-old retired Cincinnati resident who said that while the casino is "gorgeous," she was upset that all the parking on the property for opening night was reserved for VIPs.

Parker, who parked across the street for $10, said she frequents the Hollywood Casino about 25 miles west in Lawrenceburg, Ind., and spends thousands of dollars there. It will take a lot for Cincinnati's casino to win her over, she said.

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