Columbus has a new star attraction.
Hollywood Casino opened – or “premiered” – last month in west Columbus. Where the shuttered Delphi auto plant sat just three years ago is now a 475,000-square-foot casino, complete with 3,000 slot machines, 70 table games, four restaurants, a 20,000-square-foot event center and all the other glitz and glamour one would associate with a Las Vegas-style casino.
Pond attractions with cascading water features and an outdoor video wall welcome patrons to the casino, as do massive TV screens showing movie trailers immediately inside the main north entrance.
“As soon as people enter through the main entrance, the only thing we want them to be thinking is, ‘Wow,’” says casino General Manager Ameet Patel.
The casino floor accounts for more than 200,000 of the building’s square feet, boasting 3,850 total gaming positions with its complement of slot machines and table games – the latter including the usual suspects: poker, blackjack, roulette and craps. The poker room has 30 tables and 28 flat-screen TVs, while the high-roller room has eight tables and 40 slots.
On the edges of the casino floor are the building’s three main restaurants: the 300-seat Epic Buffet; the 86-seat, quick-serve Take 2 Grill; and the 124-seat, upscale Final Cut Steak & Seafood.
Final Cut goes all out with the Hollywood theme – showcases throughout the restaurant are filled with movie memorabilia including costumes and award show outfits. The items, which rotate every few months, might even have local connections on occasion; for instance, the Hollywood Casino in Kansas has Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, and there’s no reason an Ohio casino can’t showcase some Ohio items of its own, Patel says.
“You’re actually getting a walking tour of Hollywood while you’re dining,” he says.
At the very center of the casino floor is the 300-seat sports lounge, which, in addition to its dining and bar areas, also has a stage for live entertainment, as well as a sizable volume of two-sided projection screens so attendees can keep up on sports games. Though the buffet, steakhouse and quick-serve are standard-issue for the Hollywood Casino attractions built by Penn National Gaming, the lounge has been given a Columbus-specific moniker: the o.h. The plan for now is to bring in primarily local bands, though bigger-name acts may be added to the line-up once a hotel is added to the casino site.
Hollywood Casino is located at 200 Georgesville Rd. and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Garth Bishop is editor of CityScene Magazine. Feedback welcome at email@example.com.