Cleveland: Casino a boost for some restaurants

6:52 PM, Jul 10, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Gamblers have bet almost $350 million dollars in the first seven weeks the Horseshoe Casino has been open.

The casino's take's has been about $43 million.

With all that money coming downtown, how much is trickling down to restaurants and other businesses around the casino?

A Channel 3 News spot check found most reporting a boost, but not a full-fledged bonanza.

Casino co-owner Dan Gilbert vowed the casino would encourage guests to eat and shop at surrounding businesses.

It has windows on the outside world, a casino rarity. Other casinos seek to surround and retain customers with the casino experience.

Gilbert pledged "to give a shot in the arm for the benefit of all...This is what we sold to citizens and we plan to deliver," just before the casino opened.

Some casino guests have no plans to venture outside, intent on gambling and satisfied to patronize a huge buffet spread or one of three local restaurants inside.

Guest Jack Wargo said, "We'll be inside. No sense in walking around. It's more comfortable inside."

But many guests making the casino a stop on a longer stay are sampling the city's menu.

Canada's Carol Whitson said, "We're staying at the Ritz Carlton...We have reservations at Lola's tonight...Our first impressions are pretty amazing."

John Q's Steakhouse has seen a lift in business.

General Manager  Elena Rego said, "It's definitely increased about 20 percent. We participate in the comps program and nightly we have some people sent to us."

Bar Louie is seeing more customers in late-night off-hours.

"We've gotten some people celebrating large wins...kind of like a hole in one in golf," said General Manager Bryan Metzger.

Other restaurants report no noticeable impact.

Taza's General Manager Shelly Volpe said,"It has not really affected our business. I'm not seeing a big increase. ...I'm being patient. I think it will come."

Some restaurants believe any increase may be more noticeable after the casino's novelty wears off and during the winter when business and weekday nighttime activity had been scarce.

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance plans to take a survey of businesses and restaurants after Labor Day to get a better read on the casino's economic impact.



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