More gambling is coming to the Greater Cleveland area, as Ohio is getting ready to welcome its second ”racino,” or racetrack casino. Rock Ohio Caesars’ ThistleDown Racino will celebrate its grand opening on April 9 in North Randall. “American Idol” winner and Las Vegas headliner Taylor Hicks will kick off the festivities with exclusive concerts.
The Thistledown horse racetrack has been a fixture in the Cleveland suburb of North Randall since 1931. Rock Ohio Caesars, a joint venture between Dan Gilbert’s Rock Gaming and Caesars Entertainment Corp., invested $88 million to renovate the property and turn it into a new racino. It also developed the $350 million Horseshoe Casino Cleveland and the $400 million Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati.
Construction started last August. The facility is located on 128 acres, 10 miles southeast of downtown Cleveland. It now features 57,000 square feet of gaming space with 1,150 video lottery terminals, as well as new dining and nightlife options.
“We’re excited about so many things as the grand re-opening for ThistleDown approaches,” said racino general manager Rick Skinner in a statement to the press. “We’ve created 700 new jobs in this community to support these additions to our business. It is thrilling to see our new gaming floor and amenities take shape while we also prepare for our live racing schedule to start on April 19. Whether you’re a gamer, a horseracing enthusiast or both, we look forward to providing all our customers the fun, entertainment and great customer service that has become synonymous with Caesar’s Entertainment and the Total Rewards network.”
ThistleDown isn’t Ohio’s first racino. The Scioto Downs Casino & Racetrack outside Columbus opened its doors to the public last June. And just six miles south of North Randall, in Northfield, a joint venture between Hard Rock International and Northfield Park is developing a $275 million gaming and entertainment complex. Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park is expected to open in December 2013. By next year, there will be seven racinos in the state of Ohio.
Photo credits: www.caesars.com/thistledown