One-on-One: Dan Gilbert Talks Casino and Cleveland

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CLEVELAND --With the Horseshoe Casino set to open 9:30 p.m. Monday night, casino owner Dan Gilbert is as excited as his employees.

"It's been a long project. Almost three years now. And it's been a collaboration of thousands and thousands of people," said Gilbert.

"It feels good. Just walking through the casino and seeing all the looks of all the team members faces, it makes me very excited. The facility came out really nice," Gilbert added.

The former Higbee store transformed with 2,100 slot machines, table games, and a World Series of Poker Room, plus perks.

"Caesars will come out with various packages for various players. Comp certain rooms at the Ritz Carlton and other hotels that we have deals with, including restaurants that we've made partnerships with," said Gilbert.

So, what about phase two?

Gilbert says, bet on it.

"I know there's been talk that it's not going to happen. That's not true. It is going to happen for sure," said Gilbert emphatically.

Phase two is planned along the Cuyahoga River and will span almost to the Q.

"Here it took about 16 months from demolition to where we're at now, which is a pretty short time frame. There it's going to take two and a half plus years of actual construction. We've still got a lot of design to even to get to that level," said Gilbert.

"We are hoping between the casino site there and the Q at the corner, eventually it will look almost like Time Square with lots of lights," said Gilbert.

But first things first: open Phase One Monday night.

And for Gilbert and this 1,600 plus employees, it's been worth the risk.

"We look at our business as one business. We have a lot of tie-ins and threads and synergies that we look for. So, we are excited for everybody and we can't wait for people to get down here and check it out," said Gilbert.

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