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Published: 5/30/2013 - Updated: 10 months ago

HOLLYWOOD CASINO

Casino hits 3.4M visits in its 1st year

Hollywood Toledo exceeds expectations, manager says

BY VANESSA McCRAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Monroe residents Susan and Klause Rose play the slots during Hollywood Casino’s first anniversary celebra-tion. Most players are from outside Lucas County. Monroe residents Susan and Klause Rose play the slots during Hollywood Casino’s first anniversary celebra-tion. Most players are from outside Lucas County.
THE BLADE/JEFF SMITH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Hollywood Casino Toledo counted more than 3.4 million visits in its first year, a number that officials said adds up to a big birthday win.

At a Wednesday news conference to promote the casino’s first anniversary, General Manager Richard St. Jean said visits exceeded casino estimates for first-year operations by 600,000.

Nearly three-quarters of the customers who have signed up for player cards came from outside Lucas County, and 44 percent were from states other than Ohio.

“So when you talk about bringing exposure to the town of Toledo, we’re pleasantly pleased to report that we certainly have,” he said.

The sprawling site on the Maumee River opened May 29, 2012, and offers dining, entertainment, and slot and table games.

One year later, officials gathered in a lounge in the middle of the casino floor to cheer what they said was a successful first year measured in 145,000 decks of cards, 36,000 gallons of draft beer, and 23,000 pounds of prime beef.

“If all 1-year-olds could do what they have been able to do in one year, we really would be moving as a city and as ... a world,” said Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, who wished the casino a “happy birthday.”

Mr. Bell indicated the casino was “controversial” initially, but said to him, the proposition was always simple. It brought jobs and has helped support city and community organizations, he said.

He pointed to tax revenue generated by the state’s casinos, which has added about $4.3 million to the city’s coffers so far. He said he “knew something was about to change in our community” when casino construction began.

“I knew that when I was here New Year’s Eve and you couldn’t find a seat, something was happening in Toledo that hadn’t been happening in a while,” he said.

Hollywood Casino Toledo reports a successful first year measured in 145,000 decks of cards, 36,000 gallons of draft beer, and 23,000 pounds of prime beef. Hollywood Casino Toledo reports a successful first year measured in 145,000 decks of cards, 36,000 gallons of draft beer, and 23,000 pounds of prime beef.
THE BLADE/JEFF SMITH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Casino taxes brought $1.6 million to Lucas County, said Carol Contrada, president of the board of county commissioners. She said the county conservatively estimated casino tax revenue, and the amount the county received in 2012 was roughly $21,000 more than it had projected.

The state’s four casinos, allowed by voters in 2009, pay a 33 percent tax on gross casino revenue to counties, schools, cities, and other agencies. Revenue so far has lagged behind some early estimates, and experts have cited competition from racinos as among the reasons.

From its opening through April, Toledo’s casino pulled in $181 million in adjusted gross revenue, the Ohio Casino Control Commission reports.

On Wednesday, the casino touted its use of local suppliers and support of charity efforts.

Stephanie Cihon, director of advocacy for ProMedica, highlighted a program that started at the end of February. The health-care organization and Seagate Food Bank of Northwest Ohio partner with the casino to pick up unused, unserved food — from sauces and meats to side dishes and salads — and deliver it to local food pantries.

Ms. Cihon said so far, about 13,000 pounds of food have been reclaimed. “It’s just been incredibly successful,” she said.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065.



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