Ohio’s third and so far largest casino, the 0 million, 3,000-slot machine Hollywood Casino Columbus, opened shortly before noon on Columbus Day in the state’s capital. VIPs at the opening included Mayor Michael Coleman, actress Ann-Margret, former heavyweight boxing champion Buster Douglas and Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin.
The 475,000-square-foot facility joins the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland and the Hollywood Toledo, both of which opened in May. The fourth and final casino authorized by the voters in 2009, another Horseshoe casino, is scheduled to open in Cincinnati next spring.
Franklin County, the home of the newest casino, didn’t support having a casino in the 2009 election, when the constitutional amendment that authorized the casinos received 42 percent approval from county voters, but you couldn’t tell that from the thousands of patrons who flocked to the new facility on opening day. The casino is expected to draw 3 million visitors a year.
Besides 3,000 slots, the new casino also boasts 100 gaming tables, including 30 poker tables, an entertainment center and four restaurants. Its film industry memorabilia and art deco is characteristic of Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino brand. The Ohio Casino Control Commission projects it to be the most profitable of the four casinos. Its general manager, Ameet Patel, vows that the casino will lead the state. He said he believes the Columbus area has the depth to support all the casinos and racinos that are planned.
Less than six months ago, no casinos operated in Ohio. Now there are three—soon to be four. State officials project that by 2013, gaming revenue will be $1.4 billion for four casinos and one racino, Scioto Downs, which added slots in June.