NORTH RANDALL, Ohio -- Lines formed around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon for the 5 p.m. opening of the Thistledown Racino.
Hundreds came. By car. By shuttle. By cab. Some walked. All with the idea of seeing the latest atmosphere to gamble in.
"I think it's a wonderful thing. Long overdue," said Cassie Potts.
Ken Hahn came from Wisconsin.
"I'm a gambler, and I can't believe I am standing in line to lose my money," he said.
The ponies are not yet racing around the track. Real thoroughbred racing is set to begin on April 19. For now, gamblers can wager on live simulcasts of races elsewhere.
The Thistledown Racino was the second racetrack in the state to fire up the Video Lottery Terminals.
More than 1,000 of the terminals, or slot machines, went into play at 5 p.m. The owners of the Racino, Rock Ohio Ceasars, pumped $88 million into the facility, and on Tuesday the place was packed.
Sue Lasker came from nearby.
"It's nice, it's close to home," she said. "Not any big lines. Just more convenient for me than downtown."
The machines are in a 57,000-square-foot gaming floor. New bars and restaurants were added.
Everyone came to win, but Dan Walters might have been the quickest.
"I was on my last coin, and I hit it," he said. "Bam, $3,200. Just like that."
Time will tell if this venture of VLT machines will do what it is intended to do: boost the states struggling horse racing industry.
Money from the terminals will help raise horse racing purses, which will hopefully according to officials will make fields more competitive and bring more people trackside.
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