Downtown businesses hoping for an economic jolt from new casino opening

CLEVELAND - With the opening of the new Horseshoe Casino Cleveland on Monday, downtown Cleveland is expecting a bit of an economic boom—one that will hopefully last longer that the typical one-time only big event.

From the very beginning the casino was bringing in jobs—2,000 construction jobs and 1,600 casino jobs to start.

But area business are also hoping to reap the benefits of the new casino—a lucky break for a city in need of a new investment.

Several new restaurants have already opened near Public Square and more stores are expected to pop up in Tower City. Four new hotels have been added—including the Crown Plaza, which is undergoing renovations into a luxury Westin Hotel and Spa.

"The vibe downtown is really exciting right now. People are exciting for the casino opening up and I think it will increase people coming downtown," said David Gilbert of Positively Cleveland.

With roughly 13,000 casino goers expected daily, businesses are hoping that visitors will be spending their money outside of the casino as well, but right now it is anyone's guess as to how many extra visitors the casino will generate.

"Everybody is talking about the casino and trying to figure out what to expect from it and everybody is hopeful it's going to take off," said Caitlin Cassidy, General Manager of Harry Buffalo on East 6th Street.

The casino is also expected to drive in more business for taxi drivers, motor coach companies, caterers and food supply companies.

Positively Cleveland has a new promotional video that paints a bright future citing such developments as the casino, the Flats development and the new medical mart, which is expected to attract 300,000 convention goers per year, compared to just 60,000 during the days of the old convention center.

"We need to focus on the visitor experience and all of that will relate to more money in the community and more jobs," said Gilbert.

The casino is scheduled to open on Monday May 14 at 9:30 p.m. Opening Day wristband winners will be allowed access first and the general public is invited to line up outside beginning at 5 p.m.

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