$400M Casino Project Moves Forward in Downtown Cincinnati

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor Even in tough times, Downtown Cincinnati continues to expand, with the resumption of the briefly stalled construction of the $400 million Horseshoe Cincinnati. Meant to boost the city’s economy and tourism, the new casino is being developed [...]

Even in tough times, Downtown Cincinnati continues to expand, with the resumption of the briefly stalled construction of the $400 million Horseshoe Cincinnati. Meant to boost the city’s economy and tourism, the new casino is being developed by Rock Ohio Caesars, a joint venture between Rock Gaming and Caesars Entertainment.

The joint venture partners will develop and operate casinos in the downtowns of both Cincinnati and Cleveland.

The casino had broken ground on Feb. 4, with construction moving forward for three months on the 20-acre site in northeast Cincinnati. A 354,000-square-foot complex with a 2,500-spot parking garage, it was planned for nearly 100,000 square feet of non-stop gaming entertainment action, featuring 2,300 slot machines, 72 gaming tables, a high-limits area, a World Series of Poker room and a VIP Player’s lounge. The complex will also include a 400-seat buffet, three additional restaurants and a food court, along with more than 33,000 square feet of banquet/event/convention/meeting facilities.

Construction stopped on May 11 because of uncertainty over tax rates and regulatory structures, but Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Rock Ohio Caesars reached an agreement on June 11. On top of the $50 million one-time licensing fee and 33 percent tax on gambling revenues included in the 2009 constitutional amendment that ushered in gaming in Ohio, the state will collect an additional $110 million over the next 10 years.

The Horseshoe Cincinnati casino will be the seventh Horseshoe nationwide and will serve as a gaming destination for southwest Ohio. Employing 1,700 workers and operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it is expected to attract 6 million visitors each year and generate $517 million in annual gambling revenues.

The opening is planned for spring 2013.