Supporters touted the potential economic benefits of casinos when the issue was placed on the ballot in 2009. So how is Cincinnati's casino is doing so far when it comes to economic impact?
From a jobs standpoint, the 1,700 workers at Horseshoe Cincinnati made it the largest of Ohio's four voter-approved casinos based on figures from last year. Add to that the dollars invested in the project and you have a sizeable impact on the economy so far.
"Our payroll for our 1,700 employees that we hired was just under $53 million--$52.8 million to be exact," said Kevin Kline, the casino's general manager. "Our overall casino investment that we've shared publicly is $400 million for the specific project--$450 million all in."
Kline said 92 percent of the people hired were from the Cincinnati area, not to mention the business created for nearby hotels and restaurants and local vendors. But Kline also likes to look at the impact the casino has had on a more personal level.
"We've changed people's lives and have folks who went from underemployed, unemployed to now maybe making somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 a year and getting full benefits," he said.
Local tourism industry pleased with results
Dan Lincoln, CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the casino generated 45,000 hotel room nights, and that doesn't include out-of-town visitors from Indianapolis, Columbus, Lexington and Louisville.
"You're talking tens of thousands of room nights and 100,000 more visitors," he said. "It's huge for our local economy."
Lincoln said the casino has been a huge asset for Cincinnati.
The bottom line
Considering the new competition from racinos and, of course, the weather this winter, Kline said Horsehoe Cincinnati has been faring very well in the entire state market. Statistics from the Ohio Casino Control Commission show it generated more than $16.2 million in adjusted gross revenue in January. That was second highest among Ohio's four casinos that month. For the 10 months the casino was open last year, revenue topped $184.5 million after paying for winnings and promotions.