On Election Day 2009, Ohio voters took to the polls and wielded their unalienable right and commanded that a casino be placed here in Cincinnati.
Some of the propaganda which aided in the passage of this issue consisted of promises of increased tax dollars which would fund well loved issues such as public schools in the Queen City and all around Ohio.
On Nov 10 of the same year, Detroit entrepreneur Dan Gilbert and owner of the yet to be named Cincinnati casino, draped himself with Cincinnati city leaders and held a press conference at Broadway Commons, the future site of the casino. There he praised the passage of the “casino initiative”, re-touting revenue which would be gained and promised to develop a casino that would be holistically engaged with the surrounding community.
During the press conference he said, “We want to make sure it’s an extremely unique project – we want to make it special and tie it into the community,”
Despite the promise of revenue from the casino being pumped directly back into the immediate area surrounding the casino, which has been deemed one of the “most dangerous places to live in the United States”, understandably, residents, business owners and other stake holders are interested as to how the coming casino will assist in their efforts to make the area safer.
There are few examples of urban casinos in the United States, but The Federal Bank of Boston delineated economic data on its state’s revenues from gaming in New England and gave a somewhat complete review of the literature on the potential secondary impact of casinos on local economies. This literature may give an insight to what effect Cincinnati’s casino will have on the economy of Cincinnati’s Downtown Business District, Over-the-Rhine and Pendleton neighborhoods.
In reading this memo, it was concluded that between 2 percent to 7 percent of New England’s state revenues come from gaming with the exception of Rhode Island; 10 percent of its state revenue is attributed to gaming. Also, using New England’s example of gaming revenues, there was no evidence that revenues will increase over time; there is only evidence that revenue from gaming will produce a steady stream of income for the state(s) involved.
What was most interesting about the memo was that it gave inferences that the most visible economic impact that casino’s bring is to the supplier of services (caterers, food suppliers, cleaning services etc.).
There are many entrepreneurs in Cincinnati who are banking on the extra foot traffic created by the coming casino and have invested in businesses in the Over-the-Rhine and Pendleton Neighborhoods; both which abut the future casino site. The aforementioned communities have historically thrived on community togetherness, fostering a sense of urban unity and hope that the coming casino will be a catalyst for greater economic development
Events like Second Sundays on Main and Final Fridays bring vendors onto the streets and people to patron the many shops and galleries which brighten these blocks on Main Street and the addition of Joe’s Diner has done nothing but make the district that much more appealing..
Neon’s Unplugged, located just blocks from the site of the future casino, re-opened its doors in 2010 in hopes that the economic ripple effect that the casino will produce will be a positive one.
In addition, Joe’s Diner was opened to serve the much missing niche of providing quality eats for an affordable price. Though it has only been open for a few months, this well-run restaurant easily handles a crowd, and has done nothing but please its customers.
In the very near future, Downtown Cincinnati will begin to reap the benefits of having a casino in its midst and hopefully the theory of trickle-down economics will take effect.