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Ohio Casino Plans Firm Up

Toledo, Ohio will soon be the home to a new casino. Penn National Gaming sent plans for the Hollywood Casino to the Toledo City Council for approval. According to the plans, the structure will be 84 feet high, and will accommodate 450,000 square feet of gambling space. The casino is expected to have up to 5000 slot machines, as well as roulette, blackjack, keno, and poker. The parking garage is slated to be a million square feet. The casino is expected to generate 600 jobs during the construction phase and twice as many once the casino is completed.

Local residents are divided over the idea of having a casino in their part of town. Some think that property values will drop. They expect that the casino will generate traffic problems and that it may even attract a criminal element. Others are more positive. The new casino will provide job opportunities for locals, in an area which is still feeling the pinch of the recession.

One item which has generated some controversy is Penn National’s plan to demolish an existing road on the property as well as the plan to eliminate boat access to the area. According to a Penn National representative, boat access from the Maumee River was deemed unlikely to be profitable. There will be a new biking path and a new walking path, which should help property values in the area.

While Penn National had agreed to work with Toledo’s downtown hotels to provide shuttle service to the casino, the plans do call for a hotel. Penn National said, though, that the hotel would be built at a later phase, and only when Toledo’s overall hotel occupancy improves. This will help preserve the stability of those hotel interests already in town.

According to plans, the construction could begin before the end of the summer. Building the casino is part of Toledo’s bid to build a reputation as a tourist destination. A project called Destination Toledo has worked to attract tourists to new venues such as Huntington Center, formerly known as the Lucas County Arena, and the Fifth Third Field minor league baseball stadium.

Penn National is also building a Hollywood-themed casino in the city of Columbus. There are currently plans to build in Cleveland too, but no location has been selected yet. Ohio is still a long way from becoming the next Las Vegas, but it’s quite a start for a state that has only now begun licensing casinos.

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