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Howard Stutz

Ohio casinos delayed by up to two months

10 January 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A licensing hang-up will delay the openings of two Ohio casinos by up to two months.

One, in Cleveland, is half-owned and would be managed by Caesars Entertainment Corp.

Ohio's Casino Control Commission has not completed the background checks on some 15 individuals with Penn National Gaming, which owns and will operate the Hollywood Casino Toledo, and with Caesars, which owns the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland with Rock Financial.

The Horseshoe Cleveland was expected to open in March, followed by the April opening of the Hollywood Toledo. The openings could be stalled for eight weeks.

"The Ohio Casino Control Commission has stated that the licensing process, particularly all of the background checks on the operators, are taking longer than expected," Union Gaming Group Principal Bill Lerner told investors.

Gaming analysts said the delays could cause a fluctuation in the quarterly earnings for Penn National, which operates the M Resort in Las Vegas.

"We don't view this minor delay as a major setback, but note that it could push back any profitability into the third quarter of 2012," Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon told investors. "This is the less important Ohio property for Penn. In our view, this delay could put near-term risk to earnings results given the regular ramping period of opening of a casino."

Ohio voters legalized four casinos -- one in each of the state's four largest cities -- in 2009.
Ohio casinos delayed by up to two months is republished from