© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Columbus Casino Welcomes Thousands On Opening Day

Thousands turned out on the Columbus Day Holiday to the new Hollywood Casino Columbus on West Broad street. The opening marks the transformation of an abandoned auto parts factory into a gleaming entertainment attraction.

Live bands played, gaming tables were ready, slot machines. Hollywood Casino Columbus welcomed a couple thousand gamblers to its new casino. The first people in line were a trio of women who traveled to Columbus from Mount Vernon. Jane Crooks says she and her friends stayed in a hotel overnight and then headed to the neon signs for the first day's events. "Its exciting. It's our new brand new casino in Columbus, Ohio. I never thought I'd see one in Columbus. It's so exciting." Says Crooks.

Visitor Ed Galloway smiled as he stopped in the entranceway to take in the live music and the bright lights. As a regular gambler, Galloway says Columbus has needed a casino for a longtime.

"I've been going to Indiana for years. Now this is right in our backyard. This is really nice. I actually got a card the other day from them trying to lure me back there. But I won't go. I'll stay right here. Keep the money close to home." Says Galloway.

Angie Tracy and Sean Feck live about three miles from the new casino. Tracy headed to the slot machines. Feck was looking for a specific game.

"The one up in Toledo had a ghostbusters game that I kind of took for some money. So, I'd like to see if they have that down here.  Says Feck.

"I just like pretty much the slots and just whichever one kind of feels right to me. I guess that's what I try." Tracy adds.

Feck, Tracy, Galloway and Crooks are all the type of customers Penn National and local public officials hope to attract to the new casino: return visitors willing to spend on entertainment. Penn National executive Ameet Patel and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman beamed during opening ceremonies. Coleman  welcomed actress Ann Margret.

"Ann Margret want to welcome you to Columbus. You know one of her great movies was Viva Las Vegas. Now, I want to tell you Viva Columbus. "  Said Coleman.>

The opening of the 400-million dollar casino comes almost three years after voters approved a change in the state constitution to allow casinos. The Columbus casino will be the largest of four.