It took years of effort and a failing economy to convince Ohio voters to approve Casinos in the state. Thanks to a dispute with Ohio’s new governor, casino developers, Rock Gaming, L. L. C. and Caeser’s Entertainment Corporation (Rock Ohio Caesers) halted operations at the Cincinnati and Cleveland casino sites as of May 11, 2011. Excavation at the Cincinnati site left a massive hole in the ground. A group of concerned citizens sees that big hole as a symbol of lost construction and casino jobs and tax revenue. They hold Ohio governor Kasich responsible, and they are organizing a protest rally at the site on June 2, 2011 to let him know how they feel.
Horseshoe Casino Timeline?
Voters approved the Issue 3 Casino amendment in the November 2009 election and casino projects moved forward in Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo and Cincinnati.
-Operating partners Rock and Caeser’s were formally approved for casino complexes in Cincinnati and Cleveland.
-Hollywood would develop the Columbus and Toledo casino locations.
-The casino amendment was formalized by the Ohio State Legislature.
-Former Governor, Strickland signed off on the deal.
-Governor Kasich was elected in November 2010.
-The Horseshoe Casino groundbreaking ceremony was held on February 4, 2011.
-Kevin Kline was named General Manager of the Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati on February 4, 2011.
-Site excavation began.
-Proposed Ohio Budget called for more casino taxes and fees.
-Developer halted operations on May 11, 2011 in both Cincinnati and Cleveland.
Casino site excavation was in process when newly elected Governer Kasich and the Republican majority Ohio Legislature proposed a few changes. Despite voter approval of the casino amendment, they adjusted the state budget, requiring Casinos to pay higher taxes and fees. As the developers could not reach an agreement with the governor and the Ohio legislature, they halted construction.
A May 11, 2011 press release issued by Rock Ohio Ceasers commented on the Cincinnati and Cleveland sites, ” Construction work on both sites has been suspended and will remain so until these issues have been resolved and a reliable State economic environment is in place.”
Protest Rally on June 2, 2011
The Original casino opening date was scheduled for some time in 2012. When the budget controversy first surfaced, that date was pushed back to 2013. Given the current issues, some are concerned that the Local casino may never open. If that is the case, Ohio counties will miss out on millions in projected annual casino revenue. Cincinnatians will lose construction and future casino jobs, which were the whole point of passing the amendment in the first place. In the meantime, all Cincinnati has to show for years of effort is a big hole in the ground.
The Rally is being organized via a Facebook group page entitled, “Tell Kasich to Stop Destroying Jobs”! The title refers to the casino jobs lost, but also alludes to recently passed Ohio Senate Bill 5. That amendment minimized the bargaining rights for Ohio public workers. Ohio Labor activists are currently collecting signatures to place the SB5 issue on the November ballot. The group calls the casino amendment “..yet another example of Kasich’s job killing policies.”
PR News Release: February 4, 2011: “Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Breaks Ground”
Rock Ohio Ceasers May 11, 2011 press release:
Tell Kasich to Stop Destroying Jobs! On Facebook:
Ohio Issue 3 Text:
Rock Ohio Caeser’s February 4, 2011 Press release:
Business Courier: “Cincinnati Casino Opening Delayed”: