Michigan gamblers head to Toledo's new Hollywood Casino

New Toledo casino expects to compete with Detroit's 3

By Roger Weber - Reporter

TOLEDO, Ohio - Michigan gamblers are making a run for the border to visit the new Hollywood Casino in Toledo.

It opened at noon Tuesday, two hours ahead of schedule to ease the opening-day rush.

"It's wonderful," said Pat Jacobs, of Toledo. "You don't have to get on a bus and go. It's right here and it's beautiful."

More: Ohio casino opens Tuesday

Experts believe the new casino will take away at least 4 percent of the $1.4 billion annual revenue of Detroit's three casinos. The city of Detroit will lose roughly $7 million or $8 million in tax revenues.

Toledo casino is not far from state line

The Hollywood Casino is on the Maumee River, 11 miles south of the state line. It includes 2002 machines, 60 table games and a sports bar surrounded by huge high definition TVs. Unlike the Detroit casinos, smoking is not allowed inside.

The casino has advertised heavily in Michigan.

"We do anticipate a jump ball between us and Detroit where people have the choice to go either way," said Jason Birney, vice president of marketing at Hollywood Casino.

Metro Detroiters head to Toledo for new casino

Many of Tuesday's customers are from Metro Detroit.

"It's not that bad of a drive down here -- 45 minutes. It's a nice change of pace," said Sue Flynn, of Allen Park.

Meanwhile, another threat is on the horizon for Detroit's casinos. Signatures are being collected for a November vote authorizing eight new non-tribal Michigan casinos. Several would be located in Metro Detroit.

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