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Penn National Moves On With Columbus Casino Plan After Yes Vote

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Penn National Gaming has been patient in their quest to bring a casino to Columbus, Ohio. After voters in the state approved casino gambling for the first time last November, Columbus business and community leaders opposed the potential location for the Penn National casino.

Originally set for the Arena District, residents were concerned that the area was too family friendly for a casino. Penn National agreed to work with the mayor on alternative sites for the casino. The parties involved came up with the former Delphi Auto Plant on the West side of Columbus.

The casino location move had to be approved by voters because the original ballot question had specific locations for voters to approve. When voters approved the move, Penn National immediately set a rough timetable for completion of the project.

The ground breaking for the Columbus casino is scheduled for the end of 2010. The casino is projected to be opened late in 2012. Columbus joins Cleveland, Toledo, and Cincinnati as cities that were approved for casinos.

The Cleveland and Cincinnati projects will be headed by Cleveland cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. The Cavs owner is searching for a casino developer to partner with that can operate the casino. Gilbert has no previous experience in the casino industry.

The move by voters last November to approve casinos represented a change of policy in the state. Voters had been asked several times before about casino gambling, and each time they defeated the proposal.

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