Ohio Casino Control Commission Approves Operator’s License for Toledo Casino

At its meeting on May 9, 2012, the Ohio Casino Control Commission (“OCCC”), by a unanimous vote, approved licenses for Penn National Gaming, Inc. and its subsidiary, Toledo Gaming Ventures, Inc., paving the way for the opening of the Hollywood Casino Toledo on May 29th.  Hollywood Casino Toledo is a 290,000 square foot facility which will feature a 120,000 square foot gaming floor with more than 2,000 slot machines and 80 table games.  The OCCC’s decision to license Penn National Gaming comes just one week after it issued a casino operator’s license to Rock Ohio Caesars Cleveland, LLC, which will open its Horseshoe Casino Cleveland on Monday, May 14th.

Penn National Gaming is also currently building the Hollywood Casino Columbus, located off I-270 in Columbus, Ohio.  This casino facility will feature a 160,000 square foot gaming floor with more than 3,000 slot machines, a 30-table poker room and more than 70 table games.  The Hollywood casino Columbus is tentatively set to open in late-2012.

Gaming Regulation Bill Passes Ohio Senate

The Senate substitute for House Bill (H.B.) 386, a wide-ranging measure that revises the regulatory structure governing commercial casinos, horse racing and lottery operations, passed the Ohio Senate by a vote of 29-3 on Wednesday, May 9th.  Prior to taking a vote on the 257-page bill, the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee removed language in the measure that would extend the ability to operate charity card rooms to all of Ohio’s 88 counties - - a  provision that was added to H.B. 386 last week and drew public criticism, including negative comments from Ohio Governor John Kasich.  Though this expansion of charity card rooms has been removed from H.B. 386, Senate committee chairman Bill Coley (R-4thDist.) said that he believes the measure will be taken up in a separate bill.

Despite the senate substitute for H.B. 386 passing the Senate by an overwhelming margin, the measure was roundly rejected by a later vote in the Ohio House of Representatives, which means the bill is now sent to a negotiation committee in an attempt to reconcile the versions of the bill passed by each chamber.  The Speaker of the House, Representative William Batchelder (R-Medina), has stated publicly that he has been advised by the OCCC that nothing in the bill needs to be finalized before the opening of the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland on Monday.


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