CLEVELAND – Crowds swarmed Cleveland's Horseshoe Casino on Monday night where they witnessed the historic ribbon-cutting of Ohio's first casino.
After costumed women in elaborate, feather headdresses and VIPs, like Dan Gilbert and Mayor Frank Jackson, took the stage, all eyes were on the building itself as it transformed into an enormous screen.
Projected on the facade were vibrant, 3D images highlighting Cleveland's current attractions.
The show ended with all that Horseshoe has to offer.
Earlier on Monday, Fox 8 News talked to people anxious for the grand opening.
“There's so much going on, people are excited - I've never seen so many police down here in my life,” said Kathryne Ballard, from Garfield Heights.
“Look around, it's exciting,” said Brian Taugman from Lakewood. “It should be about five, 10,000 people going into the casino, it should be a lot of fun! You have the Indians, the Browns, the Cavs, all around here - the Rock Hall right down the street, I couldn't think of a better location.”
According to the general manager, the final hours are being spent putting the finishing touches on the $350 million renovation of the Higbee building.
“Our team members are anxious, they're excited - a little bit of nerves but we're hoping the nerves will get flushed out,” said Marcus Glover. “But we've always told them to focus on upbeat and positive attitude, positive dispositions, smiles.”
The Horseshoe Cleveland is the first casino in Ohio approved to open by the Casino Control Commission. “We worked hand-in-hand with the commission over the weekend, tidied up a few things and feel very good about where we are to open up to the public this evening,” said Glover.
“Hopefully it will help,” said casino opponent Cindy Husted. “Hopefully it will turn things around and be great but there's just so much depression and poverty and people begging on the streets.”
Public Square is pretty limited to the public as police stand on almost every corner and barricades are in place to control the crowds. The casino can hold up to 12,000 people but on Monday, only 5,000 will be allowed inside.
“I'm in my 20's and back in the 90's, I was too young to go to the Flats, it was jumpin', now that the casino is coming, I'm old enough to actually enjoy some stuff down here,” said Kathryne Ballard.
The casino is expected to cater to nearly five-million people annually and employ 1,600 Northeast Ohioans. Charmaine Simms is currently unemployed and hoping for an opportunity. “I'm gonna go home later on and get online, and try to see, can I - try to see if I can find employment with the casino.”
There are 2,100 slot machines ranging from $.01 to $500 a spin. Gamblers will also have access to table games, a World Series of Poker room and other table games. The casino will be open 24-hours a day, seven-days a week.