Horseshoe Casino Cleveland and ThistleDown Racino learning to coexist, grow northeast Ohio market

CLEVELAND - When you look at the Horseshoe Casino's April slots revenue numbers the words of T.S. Elliot come to mind, you know, the line about April being the cruelest month.

The casino saw a 25.4 percent drop in slots revenue, as its $11.9 million April take after all bets were paid represented its lowest monthly total since the casino opened its doors in May 2012.

Figures for the first anniversary month of May, set to be released Friday, will be better no doubt, but not likely near the highs the casino saw last summer.

Even still Horseshoe executives aren't worried. That's because the slots market as a whole in northeast Ohio experienced its best month in April with the opening of the Rock Ohio Caesars-owned ThistleDown Racino on April 9.

If you add up the total slot/VLT take, the two properties brought in $19.9 million in April. That's about a 7 percent jump over the Horseshoe's best slots month in June 2012.

"It's a great story in the sense that the market in northeast Ohio grew," said Horseshoe VP and General Manager Marcus Glover during an interview on the casino's first anniversary.

"There obviously were some visitors or casino goers that didn't come to Horseshoe Cleveland that we saw go to ThistleDown… We were glad to see that that market can be bigger than what we've experienced as a singular property."

Horseshoe's slots numbers are also impacted by the decision to reduce the number of machines from 2,083 when the casino opened to 1,846 now, a move that enabled the Horseshoe to meet the growing need for more table games.

"ThistleDown is very different than Horseshoe Cleveland. We feel that they are both great experiences," Glover said. "Some may actually like both depending on the day of the week so we feel pretty good about how we'll be able to position those two assets to compliment vs. cannibalize."

May numbers for both properties will be released Friday afternoon.

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