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The first of Ohio's four casinos is expected to open in downtown Cleveland in March. And it's expected to change everything, from the landscape to the regional economy to personal spending. WKSU is taking a closer look at what's promised, expected and even feared for Northeast Ohio's newest billion-dollar business.


Cleveland works on fitting a casino into its cityscape
Operators say they will cooperate with area businesses and venues, but urban planners are waiting and seeing.

Everyone knew the new casino being built in Northeast Ohio would be in Cleveland.  After all,  that’s what the constitutional amendment that voters passed in 2009 stipulates.  Using the old Higbee building for Phase One of the project was a pleasant surprise for Clevelanders.   Still, WKSU’s Mark Urycki reports that some concerns remain about how good a fit the casino will be in the city’s downtown.
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Something old and something new: casino dollars may be both
Studies show casinos draw most customers from less than an an hour away

The new Cleveland casino will pull in big money. How much of it will come from beyond northeast Ohio is unclear. And, as WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports, it’s even less clear how the shuffling of entertainment spending within the region will affect things like restaurants, theaters and charity fund raising.
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The other Detroit businessman steering Ohio's billion-dollar bet
Matt Cullen is Dan Gilbert's casino point man

The man overseeing one of the biggest investments in Northeast Ohio’s history has been busy for decades making billion-dollar development deals in downtown Detroit. And he’s NOT Dan Gilbert. WKSU’s Amanda Rabinowitz talks with – and about - Matt Cullen, Gilbert’s point man when it comes to the new casinos being built in Cleveland and Cincinnati.
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Addicted to gambling
Mental health experts begin to prepare for more problems with problem gamblers

Only about one percent of adults lose control when they gamble, but an increase of about 40,000 pathological gamblers is predicted in Cuyahoga County alone with the opening of Ohio's new casinos.  The casino industry relies on its own programs to combat problem gambling, but mental health experts in the region remain concerned.
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Cleveland's new casino is taking some cues from Pittsburgh's experience
Rivers Casino working well with Pittsburgh's established entertainment venues

Cleveland is preparing to open the first of Ohio’s four casinos this spring. About 2 hours away casino gambling has been part of that Pittsburgh’s offerings since 2009. Both cities have both spent the last few decades adding entertainment venues to help replace the erosion of heavy industry.  WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier traveled to Pittsburgh to find out how that city’s casino has impacted its economy, entertainment venues and social issues.
(more )
 

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