Cincinnati casino opening now delayed until 2013

Artist Rendering of Horseshoe Casino
Artist Rendering of Horseshoe Casino

The opening of the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati has now been pushed back to 2013.

Casino developer Rock Gaming has had to put a key part of the project on hold while waiting to hear back from Governor John Kasich. The company is waiting to place a large order of steel.

Governor Kasich (R-OH) has said he needs time to study the taxes and fees to make sure taxpayers get the best deal possible. Kasich said those fees could increase the state's cut of the profits. The casino is expected to attract six million visitors to downtown each year, and will employ more than 1,500 people. However, developers say it could force them to scale back the project. And fewer games could mean fewer jobs.

Calvin Cross runs "Calvin's Auto Laundry." The car wash is located directly across the street from the downtown construction site. Cross is counting on business from the new Horseshoe Casino.

"If it's a setback {for the Casino} then it's going to also be a setback for Calvin's Auto Laundry,"said Cross.

Casino developers were planning on a 2012 opening date, but Jennifer Kulczycki, a spokeswoman for Rock Ohio Caesars, told Fox19: "We have missed the steel order in Cincinnati that would allow us to be closed this winter for interior work. We're reviewing our construction schedule but it is safe to say that our current circumstance pushes the casino opening to 2013."

In response, Governor Kasich's spokesperson Rob Nichols said: "The governor doesn't oppose gambling and wants the casinos to be successful, but he also wants to make certain that Ohio taxpayers have a seat at the table and are treated fairly.

State Senator Eric Kearney was outraged when he heard about the delay due to unresolved questions over taxes and fees.

"I support getting the best deal for taxpayers, but this issue should have been resolved by now," said Sen. Kearney (D-OH). "The Governor often says we need to move at the speed of business, however in this case the state has been moving at a snail's pace."

Weeks ago, Governor Kasich said he believes the increased tax could increase the state's revenue by eight to ten times. Fox19 asked Sen. Kearney if waiting for that option is really all that bad?

"I think Ohio should get the most money that we can," said Sen. Kearney. "But when you analyze the most money, think about if people are employed now. Think about all those workers depending on the wages they'll get from this job. Think about all of the businesses that are relying upon the revenue that the casino will generate; that includes restaurants, gas stations, construction companies, bakeries, all these advertising agencies. All of these businesses that are relying on all of this so delaying it only worsens the problem."

Nichols said the state just hired two gaming experts who will ensure "the interests of the taxpayers are represented."

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