Casino Control Commission draws closer to picking opening dates for Cleveland and Toledo casinos

CLEVELAND - As construction continues on Cleveland's Horseshoe Casino and Toledo's Hollywood Casino, the state's Casino Control Commission continues to work towards deciding which of the two properties will open first and when that will be.

The commission meets next Wednesday morning in Columbus at which time they're expected to sign off on the dates which they've already said need to be more than a week apart.

"I don't know that any other state has tried to open up two casinos in a short period of time from each other," said Commission Chairwoman Jo Ann Davidson.  "We said the minimum time that they need to have between openings is two weeks."

The state's gaming consultant in January recommended a delay of two months or longer to deal with conducting the needed background checks for casino employees and vendors.

Commission Executive Director Matt Schuler expressed optimism following the commission's last meeting the delay could be a question of weeks not months.

Governor John Kasich is well aware that the host communities are anxious to get the properties up and running but he's leaving this in the hands of the commission.

"They have a process they're going through and you don't want us leaning on them," said Kasich.  

"They got to do their job, I start leaning on everybody to get an outcome I don't think that's a good result," he said. "They just have to go through their procedures because once this is set, once we set the groundwork it's hard to undo it."

Kasich said that's why he took the steps he did last summer to get more up front money out of the casinos because once they opened their doors, there would have been no incentive for them to open up their checkbooks.

"We got a quarter of a billion dollars from them. If I hadn't gotten it when I got it, I never would have got it," he said.  

"So it's important that the DNA get laid appropriately so that this industry can be successful and we don't have to come back and deal with it in the future. That would not be good."

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