CLEVELAND -- Will visiting gamblers coming to Cleveland's casinojust to gamble or will they visit outside attractions and restaurants and spend money too?
That's the big question surrounding the casino's impact on surrounding businesses.
About 10 new restaurants have opened downtown this year, expressing confidence in a payoff from multiple development projects.
The Tilted Kilt opened Wednesday.It has a prime location at the corner of Prospect and Ontario streets, across the street from the casino.
The sports bar, featuring kilt-clad waitress-watching, is walking distance from Progressive Field and The Q.
General Manager Tim Swan said, "We're going to be pretty good neighbors...when the opportunity for this location opened up, we could not have been more excited."
Two storefronts remain vacant on either side of the new restaurant.
Dan Gilbert has vowed to make his casino different from a self-contained gambling palace that encourages customers to stay inside. For one thing, it has windows.
There will be abig buffet and three locally-owned restaurants.
But Gilbert claims he wants customers to venture outside and sample what Cleveland businesses have to offer.
The casino's reward program will offer free restaurant meals and tickets to downtown events.
"We're really hopeful we're going to see all those people interacting not just with the casino, but getting out and about walking to all downtown Cleveland has to offer. We're seeing positive follow through on his words from Mr. Gilbert," said Michael Deemer, of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.
Jonathon Sawyer owns The Greenhouse Tavern and Noodlecat, two nearby downtown restaurants.
"I'm looking forward to May 14th (casino opening day)...I do anticipate having more customers from the casino because of all the downtown improvements on the surface, and with policing, all the things we are going to see really fast," he said.
But it will be up to visiting gamblers to decide how big a boost downtown Cleveland businesses get.
The casino is projecting five million visitors a year.