Cincinnati Horseshoe Casino opened March 4, 2013

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Cincinnati Horseshoe Casino opened March 4, 2013

HOW TO GO

What: Grand opening of the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati

Where: 1000 Broadway St., Cincinnati

When: 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 4

Cost: No admission cost

More info: (513) 252-0777 or www.horseshoe.com

Restaurants include Bobby Flay’s burger place

Starting Monday, southwestern Ohio gamers will no longer have to drive to Indiana or Columbus to shoot craps or play the slots.

The Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, a two-story, 400,000 square-foot facility located on a 20-acre site on Broadway Commons in downtown Cincinnati will boast 2,000 slot machines, 85 table games and a 31-table World Series of Poker Room.

“There seems to be a lot of excitement,” said Jennifer Kulczycki, communications director for Rock Gaming LLC, a Midwest-based gaming partnership. “Our team has been out talking to people, and we’re seeing some social media chatter. People seem excited about having a casino in an area where they’re already living, working and playing.”

Such localization, Kulczycki said, was part of the strategy from the beginning. With a casino being a 24/7 entertainment venues, it made sense, Kulczycki said, to place a casino in an urban environment where it’s convenient for customers to also patronize surrounding restaurants, hotels and retail businesses, as opposed to current regional Tri-State casinos, which are typically located at a highway interchange outside of town.

“We didn’t do this because it was easy,” Kulczycki said with a light chuckle. “Because casinos attract a lot of people no matter where they are, it’s to the city’s and the public’s advantage to place them near established businesses, instead of away from the city where people just come in for two hours and then go home.”

Serious food

This strategy is evident in the placement of the casino’s restaurants, as well, which will include Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, (Horseshoe Casino founder) Jack Binion’s Steak and Bobby’s Burger Palace, a gourmet hamburger restaurant owned by Bobby Flay, a bestselling author and familiar face on the Food Network.

“Food and beverages are usually in the core of the building, with the gaming surrounding it,” Kulczycki said. “We turned that inside out. We placed three of our largest restaurants on the exterior of the building. People can see movement inside from the street, making it appear more integrated with downtown. Again, we want to encourage interactivity between the casino and other businesses.”

Name entertainment

As with any major casino, live entertainment will be an important element. While the casino’s first floor is devoted to gaming, the second floor will contain 33,000 square feet of flexible entertainment space, which can be used for entertainment or corporate events. The Horseshoe’s first two major shows are already booked. Appearing in April will be comedian Joel McHale, star of cult TV favorite “Community” and E!’s “The Soup,” and Il Divo, the crossover, operatic pop vocal group originally championed by Simon Cowell. Kulczycki said the booking of such talents is one of the advantages of partnering with Caesar’s Entertainment.

“(Caesar’s) has 52 properties, including Vegas,” she said. “So they have their little black book of celebrities.”

When the weather turns warm, the Horseshoe will also open up Event Plaza, a one-acre park situated on the front lawn, to live shows and festivals.

“We’ll have shows there of a similar caliber,” Kulczycki said. “We’ll be announcing the schedule a bit later.”

While the Horseshoe will charge for parking in its 23-acre, 2,500-space lot during normal business hours, parking will be free on weeknights and weekends.

“Like movie theatres, casinos are typically busy the opposite of business days,” Kulczycki said. “That’s entertainment time. But we also want to provide public parking for our non-casino guests during the day. If they go gaming, they can have it validated.”

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