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Ohio hopes delay in casinos' opening is weeks, not months
Background-check paperwork is running behind tentative schedule

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
In The Region:

Cleveland’s downtown casino won’t likely be opening as planned in late March. But the state says it’s working with the casino and one in Toledo to ensure delays are a matter of weeks, not months. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more.

SCHULTZE on reasons for delay

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The companies building Ohio’s four new casinos had started construction even before the state had a Casino Control Commission.  Matt Schuler, the director of that commission, says that’s led to some delays that mean two of those casinos won’t meet their anticipated opening dates in late March and early April.

Schuler says the delays are tied largely to it taking more time for the casinos to file the paperwork that’s needed to do background checks on board members and officers of the casino companies – and on related holding companies, and eventhe vendors of the gaming tables, slot machines and other equipment that is part of a casino.

That includes checks on financials, regulatory history, criminal records and back taxes.

“All that goes to determining the suitability of a license applicant to be engaged in casino gaming in Ohio. Here, just like it is in every other gaming jurisdiction, where you have the significant amounts of money moving through a facility so quickly, it’s why you have casinos one of the most regulated industries in the world.”

Right now, Schuler says the state is about eight weeks behind where it would need to be to clear the Cleveland casino to open on March 26. But the state hopes to work with the casinos to close that gap.

The owner of the Cleveland casino, Rock Ohio Ceasars, wouldn’t comment on the delay, but issued a statement that said it respects “the commission's diligence and dedication.”

Two other casinos are being built in Columbus and Cincinnati. They aren’t planning to open until late this year and early next, and are not expected to be affected by the delay.




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