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Published: Tuesday, 3/6/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

1st slot machines arrive in Toledo from Las Vegas

BY GABRIELLE RUSSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A truck is unloaded in front of the Hollywood Casino. A truck is unloaded in front of the Hollywood Casino.
THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER Enlarge | Buy This Photo

In mid-January, the heart of the casino was a vast room full of wide open spaces.

It looked more like an unbooked banquet hall than a soon-to-be-open gaming floor.

But Monday, a key delivery from Las Vegas — 554 of the anticipated 2,002 slot machines — arrived on trucks at the Hollywood Casino Toledo.

Finally, the casino can start looking like a casino, said its vice president and assistant general manager, Mike Galle. “This gets us one step closer to our opening,” he said.

Mr. Galle said executives of the $300 million East Toledo casino talk regularly with the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the agency that ruled last month that the casino may open no earlier than May 29.

The official opening day remains unclear.

Monday morning, four trucks were parked outside the casino. Citing security issues, officials did not allow reporters inside the gaming area.

By March 21, the remaining 1,448 slot machines are expected to be received and installed on the 125,000-square-foot gaming floor.

The slot machines cost, on average, $17,500. They range from penny games up to $100 and are expected to generate about 85 percent of the casino’s revenue, said Mr. Galle, who could not provide a dollar amount Monday.

Featured slot machine games will include video poker, Wheel of Fortune, and a few games in which Toledo players vie for national jackpots with casino players across the country.

Furniture for the casino’s restaurants has arrived. In the next several weeks, the 60 game tables — for blackjack, roulette, craps, and other games — and 20 poker tables will be installed.

“Right now with the slot delivery going on, it’s taking up a lot of our floor space,” Mr. Galle said. “The table games will probably come after the March 21 date, so we can get the slot machines set in bases, and then install the table games at that time.”

The casino’s construction, which so far is on budget, is expected to be completed on time for executives to get a final certificate of occupancy on March 15 from the city of Toledo, said Jason Birney, the casino’s vice president of marketing.

Executives also plan to hold a test day for the casino commission and invite guests a week before the building opens to the public. “It’s a dress rehearsal,” Mr. Galle said.

Penn National Gaming will operate the Toledo casino as well as one in Columbus. Rock Ohio Caesars is expected to open its Cleveland casino in early May and a Cincinnati casino later.

Contact Gabrielle Russon at: grusson@theblade.com or 419-724-6026.



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