Changes Ahead For Three Ohio Gaming Facilities Following Complete Transition Of Management

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By ideastream’s Brian Bull

Name changes are coming for the Horseshoe casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati as management and ownership goes to Detroit-based company, Rock Gaming. 

Yesterday, it was announced that Caesar’s Entertainment is relinquishing its control of the facilities. 

Rock Gaming says for the most part, the changeover will be quiet, without any major shakeups in employment, or the rewards program for casino customers.  But since the Horseshoe Casino name is a Caesar’s brand, the sites in two of Ohio’s largest cities will undergo name changes…yet to be determined.

Earlier this year, Caesar’s Entertainment Operating Company – a division of Caesar’s Entertainment – filed for bankruptcy protection.  The Horseshoe Casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati were not part of that filing, and Matt Cullen – CEO of Rock Gaming – says Caesar’s debt restructuring is not behind this transition.

“Not really, it’s certainly one of the variables that goes into the mix,” Cullen tells WCPN. “But we really wanted to take on the hands on management ourselves, so this just seemed like the right time.  We’ve always had that right under our agreement with Caesars, we’ve had 80 percent ownership from the beginning, and we just decided to give notice.”

As to any possible expansion of the Horseshoe Cleveland, Cullen says that’s some time away.  Revenues for Ohio’s four voter-approved casinos have steadily declined since the first one opened in 2012, and Cullen says that’s largely due to 7 racinos opening…three of them in proximity to Cleveland.  

“We went from no gaming in Ohio in 2010, to 11 properties, with the most recent opening a few months ago.”

Cullen says his company remains full committed to a mixed-use development on the Huron Roadside in downtown Cleveland. 

“Which is the property that we had bought a few years ago to put a second phase of the casino on,” explains Cullen. “The market really right now for gaming in northeast Ohio is a lot more saturated than we had anticipated….so additional gaming capacity doesn’t make any sense right now.”

Rock Gaming is also taking over the Thistledown Racino in North Randall, which is currently undergoing a $70 million expansion.  Like the Horseshoe casinos, it will also have a name change by next summer.  

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