Vegas Style Casino to Open Doors with Bingo Gaming

The second Casino license ever issued in Ohio was formally approved by the Ohio Casino Control Commission. Ohio lawmakers continue to peruse ways to enact a law that would essentially authorize up to 17,500 slot machines at seven racetracks. The bill, known as House Bill 386, examines the addition of Bingo, charitable gaming, and the Ohio Lottery. Ohio lawmakers approve license for Hollywood Casino, Toledo and continue to review suggested modifications to House Bill 386 that includes potential changes in Bingo, charitable gaming, and Ohio lottery regulations.

Penn National Gambling, Inc. acquires a unanimous vote by the Ohio Casino Control Commission. This vote formally approves the second casino gambling license ever issued in Ohio. Penn announced just days after the approval for the license that it plans to borrow $700 million for another casino and hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. The total debt for Penn adds up to $2.7 billion. A company’s finances are among the factors considered when gambling operator licenses are issued. Penn’s president and Chief Operating Officer Tim Wilmott assured the commission that the deal in St. Louis will in no way adversely affect the management or operations in Toledo.

Hollywood Casino Gears up for Grand Opening in Toledo

Hollywood Casino is prepared for the Grand Opening tentatively set for May 29. The 250,000 square foot, $320 million dollar facility is up and ready to go. Much of the staff is already in place. Penn National Gambling, Inc. installed more than 2,000 slot machines, approximately 80 table games, and paid a one-time $50 million dollar license fee. The commission has also tentatively set May 24 as the date in which the Casino will have a “controlled demonstration”. The event will be by invitation only and will be a trial run created to match game-day conditions on the casino floor. Licenses were issued for Penn and its’ subsidiary, Toledo Game Gaming Ventures, LLC, the company that will operate the Hollywood Casino Toledo, despite the new information acquired just days following the issue of the licenses.

Penn informed the commission that it would be purchasing Harrah’s Casino and Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri for $610 million. The commission’s consultant made the formal recommendation to grant a license prior to receiving the knowledge of the Penn’s plan to borrow $700 million for the St. Louis Casino and Hotel. When gambling operator licenses are issued, one of the factors taken into consideration is the company’s finances. Penn’s president and Chief Operating Office Tim Wilmott is confident, however, that the acquisition of the St. Louis Casino will in no way effect the operation of the Hollywood Casino in Toledo or the second casino they plan to open in Columbus this fall. Wilmott speaks of the acquisition of the new Casino as “further evidence of the company’s health.”  

House Bill 386 addresses Bingo, and Charitable Gaming Too

House Bill 386 could allow an expansion in the Ohio Lottery, allowing additional slot machines, Bingo and other such charitable gaming events as a welcome addition to Ohio’s current lottery and gaming selection. These changes could prove to be economically beneficial to Ohio in the long run. Hollywood Casino Toledo claims to have created 2, 291 temporary construction jobs and 1,329 permanent jobs that pay an average of $40,000 a year with benefit packages. Penn started with a mere single racetrack in Pennsylvania and became a major player in casino gambling with their Hollywood Casino brand. They currently have holdings in the Raceway Park in Toledo and a sound foothold in the Midwest. Ohio’s registered were found to be largely in favor of the new casinos with 62 percent of those polled in the latest Quinnipiac Poll have confidence that the State will benefit economically and the casinos will be ‘good for the state’.

All four Senators representing northwest Ohio – Edna Brown (D, Toledo), Mark Wagoner (R, Ottawa Hills), Cliff Hite (R, Findlay), and David Burke (R, Marysville) are in support the bill. Voters in Ohio approved the four casinos on specific sites in Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati in 2009, authorizing casino gambling in the State; however, it did not include any guarantees that owners would get the licenses. Penn’s president, Wilmott discussed the new Hollywood Casino in Toledo as well as the acquisition of the St. Louis Casino and the market as stable from a political standpoint as well as a competitive standpoint. In regard to the Penn National Gaming, Inc. budget “It’s still a very conservative balance sheet, there’s a lot of cushion to handle any uncertainties out there in the economy.” If the courts embrace Ohio’s plans to legalize racetrack slot parlors as an extension of the Ohio Lottery, Penn plans to move the current Raceway Park to Dayton and away from the auspices of the new Hollywood Casino Toledo.