Horseshoe Casino Cleveland: A Bet on Northeast Ohio’s Future

While no bet is sure-fire, the developers of the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland believe they have the winning hand. Set to open on May 14, 2012, the Vegas-style Horseshoe Cleveland will be the first casino in Ohio, conveniently situated in the heart of downtown Cleveland. As eager patrons hope to hit the jackpot on the slots, Northeast Ohio aims to hit the real jackpot – in the form of jobs and economic development for the region.

The 300,000 square-foot casino will be located in the historic Higbee Building, on Cleveland’s Public Square. While many remember Higbee’s for its role in the holiday classic, “A Christmas Story,” soon visitors will associate the landmark building with the sound of rolling dice and for a lucky few, a resounding “ka-ching!”

Development of the casino is being led by Rock Ohio Caesars, a joint venture between Rock Gaming LLC and Caesars Entertainment Corporation. The Higbee Building casino represents phase I of a larger project; the land for phase II has been acquired and will entail a casino situated on Huron Road, overlooking the Cuyahoga River.

Holding true to its promise of creating jobs for the region, in September 2011, the Horseshoe Cleveland initiated its first recruiting wave, looking to hire more than 500 poker and table game dealers. Then in December 2011, under the direction of General Manager Marcus Glover, the casino looked to add another 750 employees in 40 different job areas. When the Horseshoe Cleveland opens its doors in May, it will employ some 1,600 workers in all.

As LeRoy Brooks, a professor of finance at John Carroll University, noted in this storyfrom the Plain Dealer, the casino’s impact will extend far beyond its 1,600 employees. Predicting a so-called “multiplier effect,” Brooks sees the casino spurring job creation at nearby restaurants, hotels and related businesses that support the casino.

Additionally, developers project that the casino will generate $100 million annually in gaming tax revenue, much of which will be used to benefit the Northeast Ohio community. Approximately $29.7 million of gaming taxes will go to the City of Cleveland, $18.7 million to Cuyahoga County and $22.5 million to Cuyahoga County school districts.

While the casino expects to generate 5 million visits a year, it plans to leverage nearby attractions and amenities to the benefit of the entire region. As the casino will not have a high volume of in-house amenities, it will seek to develop partnerships with local establishments, thereby driving traffic throughout the region. Rather than promote the casino as a standalone attraction, casino planners strive to position it within a regional context, showcasing Cleveland’s innumerable offerings.

As part of the Caesars Entertainment Corporation, which operates more than 40 casinos domestically, the Horseshoe Cleveland will become the latest addition in the company’s family of casinos. With a proven track record of success, Horseshoe Cleveland will have access to a tremendous pool of resources, including a database of some 40 million patrons. Casino planners will utilize this database and other tools to not only promote the casino, but more importantly, Cleveland and Northeast Ohio as a whole.

As the region looks ahead to the casino’s opening, perhaps the most exciting factor to keep in mind is that the casino is just one of many new projects coming online in Northeast Ohio. Throughout the region, there is nearly $10 billion worth of capital investments being made. From corporate projects like Goodyear’s $161 million headquarters, to the expansion taking place at Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame, this is an exciting time in Northeast Ohio’s history. Collectively, these projects represent a new chapter for the region – a chapter focused on growth and economic opportunity.