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After cold spell, Ohio casinos report monthly revenue boost

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A patron stacks his chips while playing blackjack at Hollywood Casino Toledo.

THE BLADE
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It was cold and snowy outside, but the action warmed up during February inside Hollywood Casino Toledo, where revenue made a strong comeback after suffering a devastating low in January.

The casino brought in about $15.3 million in adjusted gross revenue last month, about $500,000 more than it did in February, 2013, according to a report released Friday by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

The casino’s January revenue had been about $11.5 million, its lowest monthly handle since its first full month of operation in June, 2012, according to the commission report.

Tama Davis, communications director for the Ohio Casino Control Commision, said a devastating mix of snow and dangerously low temperatures hurt January revenues at all four of Ohio’s casinos, also including Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.

“It was still bad in February, but I think it might be that a little cabin fever hit,” Ms. Davis said of customers’ return to the casinos. “All the properties were up, but Toledo had the most significant revenue jump.”

John McNamara, Hollywood Casino Toledo’s spokesman, said officials there as a rule don’t publicly discuss financial issues, but he acknowledged that severe weather is believed to have kept customers away in January.

“We closed our doors four or five days in January after Level 3 snow emergencies were called,” he said. “We only had one [snow-emergency] day in February.”

After a disappointing January, Mr. McNamara said, officials stepped up their promotional efforts.

“We’re always looking at promotions and new ways to make the casino a warm and exciting place to visit,” he said. “We have free concerts and other entertainment.”

On March 21 the casino will launch its highly anticipated, invitation-only Marquee Millionaire slot-machine tournament, from which local winners will be sent to Las Vegas for a chance to win $1 million, Mr. McNamara said.

Combined revenue for Ohio’s four casinos rose from $59.7 million in January to about $66.8 million in February.

Horseshoe Casino Cleveland raked in $17.5 million in revenue during February, up from $16.6 in January, while the $17.5 million in revenue during February at Hollywood Casino Columbus was a big jump from the $15.3 million it cleared in January.

Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, the only one of the four casinos to gain in revenue in January, continued its winning ways in February with $16.5 million in revenue, up slightly from January’s $16.2 million.

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.

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