Reality Check: New casino bringing in less bucks than first expected

CINCINNATI, Ohio (WKYT) - At long last, Cincinnati's new casino opened its doors.

After two years of construction, the $400 million Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati opened for business Monday night. With fireworks overhead and crowds lined up down the street to get in, it's the last of the Ohio voter-approved casinos to open its doors in less than a year. There is already debate over whether the casino will live up to its promise.

Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have waited nearly four years for the casino's opening. And while a push for casinos in Kentucky has failed, its neighbor Ohio moved ahead with the promise of entertainment, jobs, and millions in tax revenue.

By the time construction started, there were already questions about the casino's revenue projections. Cincinnati was expecting to get $21 million a year in revenue. Then last month, the city manager said it would be less.

"The updated figures for the city were somewhere in the $15-16 million range. The opening is upon us now, so we won't have to wait long to start to see how it will flow," explained Cincinnati City Commissioner Milton Dohoney.

"You had the governor that came in and took a little bit out. Casinos that are coming in that are further competing for the dollars. That's why the numbers are revised down below what they were in '09," described Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune. He thinks the county will get $5-6 million a year from casino revenues. That is half of the amount voters were told to expect. "All new money is good money for especially us at this time. Now back in '09, we were hoping to get as much as 12 million, but those are estimates. You can never bank on that and anybody that would budget based on estimates should not be in office," said Portune.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has tried and failed every year since his 2007 election to legalize casinos in the state.

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