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Ohio casinos: Smoke while you gamble

Publication Date: 2014-08-13
  • Author:Alexander Coolidge
  • Publication:Cincinnati Enquirer

Smokers could soon be placing bets at Cincinnati's Horseshoe – the first of three Ohio casinos adding slot machines in smoking areas.

Ohio's smoking ban has been seen as a competitive advantage to three riverboat casinos in southeast Indiana, where smoking is allowed. Now, casinos in Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo want to install slot machines in designated smoking areas while keeping their main gaming floors smoke-free.

Cincinnati's dominant casino plans to install about 150 slot machines and other gaming devices on a nearly 10,000-square-foot smoking deck under construction along Reading Road. The casino is awaiting final regulatory approvals, but plans for the addition clearly show it wants gaming devices in the new area.

"This fall, pending regulatory approval, we will introduce a new concept to the market that combines an upscale bar with slot machine gaming and smoking on an outdoor patio, which will enable guests to continue to enjoy the casino experience in a weather-protected space," Horseshoe officials said in a statement.

Regulators with the Ohio Casino Control Commission say they are reviewing Horseshoe's proposal and will approve it as long as it meets all the safety, security and surveillance requirements imposed on traditional gaming floor areas.

"It's a straightforward proposal. We view this as an expansion of a gaming space," said Matt Schuler, executive director of the commission...