Big announcement planned about Cleveland casino

CLEVELAND - We expect to learn more Thursday morning about Cleveland's new casino then we've learned since voters approved gaming in 2009.

Rock Gaming CEO Dan Gilbert and Caesar's Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman will be joined by local and state leaders at 11 a.m. to share "exciting new information" according to a release.

The news conference will take place inside the Higbee Building, where Gilbert has said Phase 1 of the casino could open sometime later this year if they found the project was feasible. In the past, Gilbert has said that part of gaming hall could be open by the end of 2011.

A Higbee's Phase 1 casino would not only be open during, but after construction of the $600 million permanent casino, which will open in 2013 across from Tower City Center.

On Tuesday, Rock Ohio Caesars agreed to purchase the 16-acre site between West Huron Road and the Cuyahoga River from Forest City for $85 million.

Rock Ohio Caesars is the partnership formed last December between Gilbert's Rock Gaming and Caesars Entertainment for Caesars to develop and operate the Cleveland and Cincinnati casinos.

With Caesars on board the emphasis will be on building customer loyalty and not what Loveman has called in the past a "slots box." A flashy casino that does well in the first year and sees it's numbers dwindle as gamblers look for the new best thing.

Caesars is the world's largest gaming corporation with nearly 50 casinos on four continents.

On Friday, Gilbert and Loveman will be in Cincinnati where they will actually break ground on Rock Ohio Caesars new $400 million casino.

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