Changing Faces of Ohio Casinos

A few Ohio casinos have recently undergone ownership changes, and while that has worked out for some of them it has brought about mixed outcomes for others. Jack Entertainment, by way of them buying out casino shares owned by Caesar’s Entertainment, has recently come to control the reins of Horseshoe Cleveland Casino, Horseshoe Cincinnati Casino, and ThistleDown Racino.

Despite making some changes to the amenities of the aforementioned casinos, Jack Entertainment’s gambling sites are still being outperformed by Ohio’s top casino—Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield Park. Though there is plenty of speculation with regard to why this is so, most people generally agree that this is the case because gamblers, whether those from Ohio or elsewhere, are simply unfamiliar with the Jack Entertainment brand. Everyone in the gambling world is familiar with the Caesar’s name, but that much is not very true with regard to Jack.

Rewards Programs Not Up to Par

For some, a major reason behind Jack’s casinos not keeping up with the rest of the pack is the fact that Jack does not offer the player rewards gamblers were able to take advantage of with Caesar’s Total Rewards program. In order for a casino to be successful, it has to align itself with the wants and needs of its local gambling population.

If the casino in question cannot keep locals coming back, it will be forced to rely on tourists alone for revenue.

Though Ohio is a great place to visit, the fact of the matter is that Ohio casinos and racinos are not suited to rely on tourists. In Las Vegas, that is a different story, but in places like Cincinnati and Cleveland the tourism industry is not large or strong enough to keep these casinos afloat.

Casino Changes—The Highlights

As for what changes were made to the casinos recently bought and now under the control of Jack Entertainment, we give you the following.

Jack Cleveland Casino, which was formerly known as Horseshoe Casino, opened its renovated doors last May. Apart from the physical renovations to the building, which included replacing hundreds and hundreds of signs and redesigning the table game layout, the casino also offered up to date training for more than 1,500 employees.

Added to this was the transition from Caesar’s Total Rewards program to what is known as ClubJACK. Like Caesar’s rewards program, ClubJACK provides players with plenty of perks, but it just isn’t the same. Players are disappointed because, in the past, the Total Rewards points earned in Ohio were able to transfer to Caesar’s properties in places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Now, they are only able to be taken advantage at Jack’s properties, which number far less than Caesar’s.

Recognizing the players’ frustration, Jack Entertainment recently announced that ClubJACK would be modified in order to make it easier for players to earn free parking. After all, the fact that people had to pay to park at the casino was a major reason people were, quite simply, not coming to downtown casinos. Still, Jack Cleveland Casino is seeing its revenue stagnate; something that has been the case since last Spring.

The Jack-owned Thistledown Racino opened its doors just before Jack Cleveland, last March. The renovations here cost a total of $70 million and included the construction of a new restaurant and sports bar as well as a parking garage complete with 1,000 spaces.

Even though all of these upgrades were made to the various casinos and racinos, revenues have not done particularly well. According to, Jack Thistledown, for example, has seen revenues hang in a tight ranger between $9 and $10 million on a monthly basis. After April brought with it revenues of $10.5 million, the thought was that this figure would continue to move upward month over month. Instead, we have seen the opposite happening. Though none of Jack’s casinos are in dire danger, it is extremely shocking to see such extensive renovations result in almost no significant revenue increase.