Columbus Casino Opening Early; Scioto Downs Competition?

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An artist's rendering of the Hollywood Casino now under construction on Columbus' West side. The Ohio Casino Control Commission ruled Wednesday that the casino can open as early as October 8th.(Photo: www.hollywoodcasinocolumbus.com)
An artist's rendering of the Hollywood Casino now under construction on Columbus' West side. The Ohio Casino Control Commission ruled Wednesday that the casino can open as early as October 8th.(Photo: www.hollywoodcasinocolumbus.com)

The Ohio Casino Control Commission has ruled that Columbus’ new Hollywood Casino can open Monday, October 8th. That’s several weeks earlier than previously announced. The casino’s owners might be trying to cash in on the success that Scioto Down’s so-called racino has experienced.

Since it opened in June, gamblers at Scioto Downs’ new racino have bet, on average, some $4 million a day. Currently they have about 1,800 VLTs – Video Lottery Terminals – to choose from. That number will increase early next month says Scioto Downs marketing director Michael Newsome.

“Phase 2 opens up in just two weeks on August the 4th where we will be expanding our operations with 400 additional machines and a 300-seat buffet,” Newsome says.

Scioto Downs’ success has not gone unnoticed by the management of Hollywood Casino Columbus. Ameet Patel, general manager of the Columbus casino, says their facility will offer more machines – real slot machines – plus table games in a more plush environment.

“We feel we have a fantastic superior experience to offer,” Patel says. “And if anything, it just confirms what we believed all along, that this will clearly be an iconic addition to our Central Ohio community.”

The October 8th opening day for the casino is something of a surprise since a date closer to Thanksgiving had been bandied about. It might be speculated that the owners of Hollywood Casino Columbus are trying to cash in on Scioto Downs’ success. But Ameet Patel said bluntly that there is no connection between the October opening and the competition.

“Zero impact,” Patel says.

Meanwhile Michael Newsome at Scioto Downs believes the impact on his company’s revenue will be minimal.

“Being the 15th largest city in the country and this region having so many pipelines in and out there is more than enough business to handle the competition,” Newsome says.

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