WEB EXCLUSIVE: Get your first look inside the new Hard Rock Rocksino at Northfield Park.
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Cleveland's Horseshoe Casino attracted 2.5 million visits in the first six months and is on pace for the projected 5 million visits in the first year. But is the casino helping attract customers to other businesses in the area?
Gamblers placed nearly $175 million in bets there last month and after paying out winnings, the Horseshoe took in almost $21 million in revenue.
The casino has been attracting more than 20,000 people on weekend nights. But the casino has bars and restaurants inside, and sometimes a free buffet.
If you want a barometer for what's happening in downtown Cleveland, how about a restaurant owner who has been opening restaurants in the suburbs, but is now investing in downtown Cleveland?
Chris Hodgson opened Hodge's at 668 Euclid Ave. this year.
"Hodges is doing unbelievable and to be honest, it's blowing my mind. At 26, I never thought I'd be able to say I have a successful restaurant after eight months," Hodgson said.
Now, he's exploring more options to expand downtown. There are empty buildings near the casino; a bar restaurant and coffee house all closed recently.
Hodgson said don't be quick to blame the casino for taking customers and don't give it too much credit either.
"Our success comes from running a great business, giving hospitality and great food to great customers, and if we fail then we missed the boat on all the things I listed," Hodgson said.
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The new Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield Park features 2,300 slot machines as well as restaurants and live entertainment that keep with the Hard Rock theme.
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October numbers up for ThistleDown and Horseshoe over September.
The new walkway linking the Horseshoe Casino's parking garage to the second floor of the downtown gaming center is beginning to take shape.
September revenue numbers released Monday show the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland posting a slight revenue jump over August figures but down 8.4 percent over September 2012.