Slowly, but surely, the casino on the west side of Columbus is moving toward completion. Recently the developer unveiled plans and architect drawings for the Hollywood Casino, which is what the casino will be called. Nearby residents apparently were impressed. The casino will be a 300,000 square foot, one-story structure that will have thousands of slot machines, dozens of table games, a poker room, and restaurants. From the architect renderings, it looks about what you would expect a casino to look like, both inside and outside. It is currently slated to open in mid-2012.
In the meantime, City of Columbus officials and the casino developers are scrapping about whether the city made certain promises when the casino moved from the Arena District to the west side of town — a move that city leaders desperately wanted. Each side thinks it has leverage. The casino developer’s west side land is in Franklin Township, not the city of Columbus, and if the casino developer doesn’t seek annexation Columbus would lose $24 million a year in casino taxes. On the other hand, Columbus says it won’t provide water to the site unless it is annexed. The areas in dispute seem to revolve around tax breaks and some form of compensation for the losses the casino developer apparently incurred when it agreed to move the casino location.
Another issue to be resolved is the membership of the state commission that is supposed to regulate the casinos. The members nominated by outgoing Governor Ted Strickland have not been confirmed, and Governor-elect John Kasich wants to make his own appointments to the body. The individuals appointed by Strickland, however, say that if they don’t move forward deadlines will be missed and the construction of the casinos could be delayed.
There are always going to be some snags when you are starting up a new, heavily regulated business in a place like Columbus, Ohio — and casinos are no different.