A Unique Gamble

A wealth of options and entertainment showcase Ohio’s diverse casino scene
By Noah Tong

The Buckeye state boasts a strong collection of casinos. Each one brings its own unique appeal to the table, but which one is right for you? To provide a glimpse into a few of the choices consumers have in the area we explored the features of each location and how casinos differentiate themselves from the competition—so you don’t have to.

Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway

A trip to Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway guarantees a memorable experience for all guests.

“The excitement we create on the floor is what really keeps the energy high,” says Dan Kennedy, vice president and general manager of Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. “We have something exciting going on every day to keep our guests engaged and entertained. Whether it’s one of our many jackpots, someone winning a new car, getting a great meal or just enjoying the music with friends, there is always an opportunity to win big.”

Located at 777 Hollywood Blvd., guests can expect a packed 2019 events lineup ranging from car shows to craft shows to comedy shows. Summertime concerts include performances from Lonestar, Cassadee Pope and Spin Doctors. Starting in September, live harness racing will occur five to six days a week while parimutuel betting is offered all year.

Although Dayton Raceway offers these events plus more than 1,000 video lottery machines its approach to handling guests makes its officials most proud.

“Our dedication to customer service is what sets us apart from the competition,” says Kennedy. “We pride ourselves in treating our guests like family and making sure they feel at home when visiting us. We have great food options, exciting promotions and energetic entertainment to keep each day fresh and unique.”

JACK Cincinnati Casino

JACK Cincinnati Casino is in possession of an intangible asset every successful business craves: a prime location. Positioned on the outskirts of downtown Cincinnati, JACK Cincinnati Casino is a walkable distance to major Queen City spots such as Paul Brown Stadium, Great American Ballpark and Over-the-Rhine. As if that wasn’t enough, free complimentary parking provides the first impression to adults in search for a fun night out.

Once inside “customers experience over 2,000 slot machines, 85 table games and 30 poker tables,” says Chad Barnhill, senior vice president of regional operations and general manager. Here gamblers can also choose among blackjack, craps, roulette or carnival games. The Synergy Table Game Experience, however, is unique when compared to its regional counterparts.

“Synergy Table Game Experience has gained a lot of traction in the last 14 or 15 months,” says Barnhill. Characterized as dealer-assisted table action, this style of gaming requires just a $5 barrier to entry. The room is an altogether different environment for customers that may enjoy live DJs and the ability to watch sporting events while playing along.

If gaming isn’t your thing, Barnhill says there’s still plenty of reasons to visit JACK Cincinnati Casino. “We’ve done much more for the guests concerning food offerings and now guests are considering us as a standalone food option and entertainment option,” says Barnhill. “There’s food promotions offered almost every day of the week at one of our restaurants.”

Hollywood Casino Columbus

As the self-proclaimed “Biggest & Best Casino in Ohio,” Hollywood Casino Columbus at 200 Georgesville Road insists on constantly improving the customer experience.

“We are always evolving our offerings for our guests and listening to their feedback about what they want,” says Jason Birney, vice president and general manager of Hollywood Casino Columbus. “We have added to the square footage of our gaming offering and continue to add the latest and greatest product to the floor as it debuts. We’ve also added an Asian noodle bar restaurant and a new daiquiri bar.”

Additionally, the casino is introducing a new rewards program called Mychoice, allowing lucky guests to win trips to places such as Las Vegas and St. Kitts. “We are also the only central Ohio gaming facility to offer table games with selections ranging from blackjack to craps to exciting linked-progressive games such as Mississippi Stud,” says Birney.

“Recently, we’ve had to expand our table games offering because our guests are telling us they want more,” says Birney.

Ultimately, Birney believes the staff at Hollywood Casino Columbus is the secret to success.  “Our team members are by far our best asset. They work hard every day to bring amazing experiences to our guests and we would not be where we are today without them.”

Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course

For customers interested in live racing and simulcast entertainment Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course is striving to be the casino, or racino, of choice. Guests can watch live races onsite and from around the world at a convenient location right off Interstate 80 and state Route 46.

Large groups, subject to special accommodations, are made to feel right at home when hosting a special event. “We have a large banquet space downstairs that leads out to the race course, which is ideal for large parties, conferences and special events,” says Alex Rangel, director of marketing. “We also offer space for more intimate gatherings on our second story, which overlooks the race course or gaming floor.” Free play is offered to groups who choose to have an event with Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley.

Guests looking for entertainment now have the option of attending free outdoor concerts featuring national acts such as Piff the Magic Dragon and Candlebox. There’s no limit in dining options either. Skybox Sports Bar offers a casual sit-down experience known for its burgers and steaks. At Take 2 Grill customers will find anything from wraps to mac and cheese in this food court. Finally, there is H Lounge Bar, which provides additional entertainment in the form of bands and Keno machines.

Although certain to have a tremendous time while at the casino, guests can also leave the casino assured with the knowledge that Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley benefits the local community.

“We partner with our community and team members on a daily basis to benefit Mahoning Valley with efforts such as our toy drive, blood drive and food drive,” says Rangel. “We believe our dedication to serving the community sets us apart from our competitors.”