The state’s largest casino is open for business, almost three years after voters approved four full-scale gambling facilities statewide. Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler reports.
Columbus’ is the second Hollywood Casino in Ohio -- the first Hollywood Casino opened in Toledo in May. It’s been a busy half a year for Joann Davidson, the chair of the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
“I’m not sure that you could find any other state that’s opened three casinos in a five month period of time," she said, "so it’s been a long haul for us.”
There are worries that Ohio may have missed the boat on gambling, and that with casinos and racinos all around the state, the market is saturated. Tim Wilmott is the president and COO of Penn National, the operator of the casinos in Columbus and Toledo and the soon-to-be racinos in Dayton and Youngstown in 2014.
“We think these markets are large enough and vibrant enough to support four land-based casinos and seven racinos," he said. "If you look at the state of Pennsylvania, which is about the same population as the state of Ohio, they have 12 casinos operating today plus two more coming, and they’re all doing very, very well.”
A recent study showed Ohio has as many as a quarter of a million problem gamblers. Davidson says the state will use that as a baseline to track that issue.