Police prepare for the opening of Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, increase in DUIs

CINCINNATI - People from across the Tri-State region will converge upon the Queen City when Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati opens its doors for the first time on March 4.

Fabulous meals, exciting gaming opportunities, glitz and glamour are some of the reasons people will flock to the downtown entertainment venue. However some city officials fear the casino will bring with it too much of a good time.

Cincinnati police officers say they're ready for a possible increase in incidents involving drunk drivers and alcohol-related crimes.  

Police Captain Kimberly Janke is the commander of the central business section and will be responsible for patrols around the casino. She says CPD will have extra patrols in the area and the casino will also hire officers during business times, such as weekends and holidays.

While the city is putting forth extra effort to make sure everything runs smoothly and people remain safe once the casino opens, Capt. Janke thinks the city will be more than ready.

"It's just one more thing," she said.

One thing Capt. Janke said the city has working to its advantage is a history of hosting major entertainment events. Cincinnati hosts Reds and Bengals games, and major street festivals like Oktoberfest Zinzinnati every year so she says the police department knows how to handle large crowds that have potentially had too much to drink.

"I really don't see that it will be any different than any of the other events held downtown," Capt. Janke said.

Assistant Police Chief Mike Lanning with the Lawrenceburg Police Department in Indiana agrees with Capt. Janke. He doesn't think Cincinnati will have much of a problem.

Lanning and his fellow officers in southeast Indiana faced a much different experience when gaming venues started to open in that region two decades ago.

His beliefs are echoed by new research. According to a study by the Journal of Health Economics , the location of a casino has a lot to do with whether more drunk drivers are on the road.

The study suggests that the construction of casinos in urban setting can actually lead to a lower number of DUI arrests in the area.

On the other hand, casinos in more rural communities tend to see an increase in the number of drunk drivers.

Police officers in Lawrenceburg, Ind. have been on patrol in a casino city for the past 17 years. During that time Lanning says Hollywood Casino, which was formerly known as Argosy Casino, has brought an increase in traffic and with that came an increase in drunk drivers.

"Being a small town, you have seven or 8,000 people on the boat at one time, that's big to us, compared to being in an area like downtown," Lanning said.

To view the entire study click on the following link: http://walkerd.people.cofc.edu/360/AcademicArticles/JHE.pdf

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