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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dan Gilbert Pushes Cleveland Casino Back to 2013

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 9:46 AM

No blackjack til 2013? Why are you smiling?
  • No blackjack til 2013? Why are you smiling?

The Cleveland casino, though on no firm timeline, was expected to open in late 2011 or early 2012. News this morning from the Plain Dealer has Dan Gilbert pushing back that date to mid-2013. Doesn't he know we're all degenerates and can't wait that long?

While Gilbert and his team have the ability to open a temporary casino in the Higbees building until the glimmering $600 million palace is complete, there's been no word on whether the new delay, which would put Cleveland as the last of the four Ohio casinos to officially open, will nudge the temporary location into action.

Seriously, doesn't he know we're all degenerates and can't wait that long?

Problems with acquiring the land needed to build the casino are at the root of the delay. Gilbert has his eyes on land just west of Tower City. Apparently, it's a "complex" situation, like trying to understand craps.

Kulczycki said the delay is related to Gilbert obtaining the land in Cleveland for his casino, property that is owned by Forest City Enterprises, and addressing some questions on infrastructure.

Kulczycki described the land acquisition as "complex" but said the negotiations are cordial. Gilbert favors land on the east bank of the Cuyahoga River directly west of Tower City Center.

They are "complex parcels and our guys are working on it, our attorneys are working on it," she said. "It's just taking due course." She said that no decision has been made yet on whether to open a temporary casino in the Higbee Building at Public Square, which is also an option, while the permanent facility is being built.

There's also concern that the delayed opening will sap some of the tax money Cuyahoga County and Ohio were expecting to earn from Gilbert's Cleveland gaming palace in 2012, something in the $50 million range.

If the three other casinos open in 2012 as planned, the Cleveland area will get some money from gambling at those spots under the shared revenue agreement. But the $50 million Roman is hoping for will only come once Cleveland's casino is open, too.

The delay also will have statewide consequences. The 33 percent state tax on gambling revenue is projected to bring Ohio about $651 million annually, but that assumed all four casinos would open at the same time. State lawmakers, already looking to get their hands on that money to help balance Ohio's rickety operating budget, may not have as much cash as expected.

That's all well and good, but more importantly: doesn't he know we're degenerates and can't wait that long?

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