Grove City Record

West Side awaits Hollywood Casino's Monday opening

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Joshua A. Bickel/ThisWeekNEWS
A dealer at the new Hollywood Casino Columbus practices dealing blackjack Oct. 1. With 100 tables for card and dice games and 3,000 slot machines, the $400 million casino at West Board Street and Georgesville Road will open Monday, Oct. 8.
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Shirley Stevison hopes Lady Luck is about to smile on the West Side.

The new Hollywood Casino Columbus, scheduled to open Monday, Oct. 8, is poised to bring a whole new level of action to the neighborhood, said Stevison, owner of Artistic Hair & Gifts on Galloway Road.

"I have a feeling it's going to make the West Side a little better," she said. "I think it's going to bring more people to the West Side businesses. That's what I'm hoping, anyway."

The casino will occupy 475,000 square feet of space at 200 Georgesville Road. It's a good dose of economic news the neighborhood, as owner Penn National invested $400 million into the facility, which will employ 2,000 people and will draw an estimated 3 million visitors in the first year.

"I think it's a great spot," said Ashley Howe Sr., a member of the Westland Area Commission. "I think it's the absolute beginning to something better."

Howe is the general manager of Darby Dan Farm, a 1,500-acre farm and banquet facility on Darby Creek Drive. He sees potential for commercial growth in the area.

"I hope businesses want to move closer to it because people want to be closer to it," Howe said.

Gambling, obviously, is the biggest attraction, with 3,000 slot machines and more than 70 live table games -- blackjack, roulette, craps and carnival-type games -- and a dedicated poker room with 30 live tables.

"We are bringing to life Ohio's largest table-games operation," said Ameet Patel, vice president and general manager of Hollywood Casino Columbus. "Our goal since the beginning has been to create an iconic gaming destination -- and, as importantly, to establish Hollywood Casino as a proud and involved citizen of Columbus."

Dining options include the Final Cut Steakhouse, a 124-seat fine-dining restaurant with a 37-seat lounge; Epic Buffet, which offers 350 seats, including a 100-person private dining room; and the Take 2 Grill, an 86-seat grab-and-go venue offering sandwiches, burgers, salads and desserts.

A 20,000-square-foot event center can accommodate 1,000 people for hors d'oeuvres or 660 for a seated dinner.

"The Hollywood Casino team has created exceptional culinary and service experiences at every opportunity, from our fine-dining steakhouse to our casual concepts and everything in between," Patel said.

First-day proceeds will benefit the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Greater Hilltop Area Shalom Zone, the Salvation Army, YMCA and the Buckeye Ranch.

Three years ago, voters in Ohio gave their approval of casinos in four cities: Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo. The Columbus casino was slated to be built in the Arena District, but after another statewide vote, the location was moved to the West Side.

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