Tuesday will mark the first day of a new chapter in East Toledo — the opening of the 290,000 square foot Hollywood Casino Toledo on the banks of the Maumee River.
The land-based $200 million casino is on a 44-acre site off the Miami Street exit just west of I-75 and five minutes from downtown Toledo. The doors will open to the public at 2 p.m., and police expect heavy traffic on Interstate 75 near the Miami Street exit.
The architecture reflects the design and decor reflective of the glitz and glamour of 1930s art-deco Hollywood. More than 2,000 slot machines, 80 table games, and five restaurants and lounges are expected to attract more than 2.8 million guests annually.
On Monday, the casino offered a tour to media, and it brought newspapers and television from around the state.
There are 2,666 gaming positions and 2,002 electronic machines, and it will open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The casino can handle up to 10,000 guests per day, tour guide Neal Perry said.
Live table games are divided into 80 poker tables, plus blackjack, roulette, craps, and carnival-style games. Table minimums will vary depending on supply and demand, Perry said. The higher the demand, the more the minimums will be.
A high stakes black jack room could include as high as a $50 minimum and $2,000 maximum to start out with, Perry said. Eight tables in that room will include seven black jack tables and one for mini-baccarat, “a popular game,” Perry said.
Twenty of the poker tables are in a separate poker room. Poker games will include Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha Live Split Games, and any game that enough players have an interest in. Players may also register online for a spot at a table through a high tech Bravo system, Perry said, but they must arrive on time to keep that spot.
There will also be an overflow pit near the valet entrance that will offer roulette, black jack, and other table games.
A roulette wheel will likely include a $5 minimum, but customers can spread that out on different numbers. There are also devices for inexperienced gamblers, such as a Six Wheel, which basically looks similar to the Wheel of Fortune from the popular television game show.
At a Players Services Area, travelers checks can be cashed, accounts managed, credit applied for, a rewards program can be managed, and foreign currency can be exchanged.
Live entertainment will be provided seven nights a week, and typically it will include local talent of all varieties — jazz, rock, blues, country — you name it, Perry said. Screens behind the stage at the H-Lounge, the 80-seat entertainment venue, have the capability to display special effects for concerts.
Perry noted that a guest cannot turn around without seeing a large screen television. There are 224 TVs for signage and displays, and Perry said they will typically display live sports. There are also 360 degree video boards, and as you enter from the parking garage the first thing a guest will notice is a huge riveted video board that displays movie trailers and casino graphics.
During the tour, dealers were taking turns practicing their skills to other dealers, who were taking the place of customers in a dress rehearsal. It was only the second week the dealers had been on the floor using the real product, Perry said.
Shift managers trained the dealers, who paid $200 for black jack training, provided through Owens Community College. Perry said sixty percent of dealers are trained for multiple games, giving the casino flexibility. He said all dealers were taught card games, including poker.
There are 5,000 light fixtures, plus 6,000 feet of accent lighting. There are 800 surveillance cameras, 1.5 million feet of communications cable, two million feet of electrical wire, and 8,700 feet of cable trays.
Unlike the newly opened Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cleveland, parking is free. There are 3,321 parking spaces, including 2,450 in an adjacent parking garage, 153 surface lots spaces, room for 275 valet spaces, and 443 spaces designated for employees. Valet parking is on the east side facing I-75.
Before the opening Tuesday morning, 1,300 employees are expected to deliver Hollywood’s red carpet service to dignitaries and media.
Owned and operated by Penn National Gaming, it will be one of Northwest Ohio’s largest employers, with at least 90 percent of its employees from the Toledo metropolitan area.
Construction provided 2,100 jobs and Penn National paid a $50 million license fee to the State of Ohio before it could open, designated for workforce development programs.
Thirty-three percent of gross revenue goes to taxes. The casino is expected to bring $25.3 million in projected annual tax revenue for the City of Toledo, Lucas County, and all school districts in the county once all four Ohio casinos are open.
The casino also wrote a $1 million check to the City of Toledo for infrastructure paid for before the casino began construction. The casino is also paying for all road improvements in the area, including new ramps off I-75 and two stoplights on Miami Street.