Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati draws 10K for grand opening

Officials plan tweaks moving forward

CINCINNATI - Officials said more than 10,000 people attended the much anticipated opening of Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, bringing to four the number of casinos in Ohio.

While the opening, which started with fireworks and long lines to get in, went relatively smoothly, officials said they will be making minor adjustments in the future. They will tweak table game minimum bets, adjust hours of operation for restaurants and explore more smoking areas.

Additionally, casino officials plan to announce the revenue of the Feb. 27 demonstration night, the third outward-facing restaurant tenant and the first outdoor entertainment act in coming weeks, said General Manager Kevin Kline.

The number of patrons who filtered through the doors when the casino opened peaked between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., Kline said. Cincinnati police said the evening was peaceful. Officers escorted two patrons out after they were deemed disorderly.

"We thought that getting to 10,000 was an achievable number," Kline said.

Kline added that 6,000 invited guests attended the Feb. 27 demonstration and Monday night's number was in line with expectations, he said. The gaming floor's capacity is 11,000.

Announcement close on third restaurant

Two of the three outward-facing restaurants are occupied. Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville restaurants was open Monday and Jack Binion's Steak opening was slated to open Tuesday. A third restaurant is currently vacant, but  Kline hinted negotiations are largely complete and that an announcement is expected "sometime soon."

"It's a very known group (operating the third restaurant)," Kline said.

That eatery is expected to employ approximately 200, in addition to the 200 employed at Margaritaville and 100 at Bobby's Burger Palace, a casino spokesperson said. The Spread Buffet, Café Italia, Starbucks, Rock Bar & Lounge and a VIP player's lounge complete the casino's dining options.

Currently, Starbucks is the only 24/7 dining option, but Kline said restaurant operators are in the process of setting hours of operation.

"I think everyone's trying to work through their final hours right now, but certainly if you come at night into the early morning, you're going to be able to get food, entertainment; plenty of places to go," Kline said.

Margaritaville and Bobby's Burger Palace operate until 2 a.m., Jack Binion's Steak is open until 11 p.m. with extended lounge areas. The Spread Buffet's hours have not yet been determined.

Table game limits to v ary

The first patrons were greeted with $25 minimum bets at many of the 87 table games, but Kline did say, adjustments will be made in the future. Those adjustments will vary depending on the number of people in the 100,000 square foot gaming facility.

Gamblers can expect table minimums to range from $10 to $25 on the low end and fluctuate upwards, Kline said.

"Our goal is to have a casino product that offers lots of different value points for people who want to come visit us," Kline said. "I think we're well positioned so that it becomes a place that everyone can come visit."

More smoking areas in future

There are currently four designated smoking areas in the non-smoking facility, but Kline said the casino is considering designating more areas to fit demand.

"I think that our opportunity to add some additional smoking from a convenience standpoint is something we're taking a look at," Kline said. "We had a chance to see our existing capacity and how that met the needs of smokers and we'll go through those refinements."

Some patrons looking for self-serve soft drink machines aren't going to find them. Kline said they don't fit into the casino design. But patrons can order drinks directly from each of the 2,000 slot machines.

It's one thing that set the Horseshoe apart from other regional casinos, he said.

Gamblers can push the beverage button on their slot machine and one of the 500 food and beverage employees equipped with iPads will be dispatched directly, rather than trying to flag down a server.

"We're trying to bring the drinks to you as oppose to you having to go out and search for soda machines," Kline said.

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