Slots, cards, chips and entertainment. Play away at the region’s top gaming destinations.Mike Boyer
No matter what type of action you crave, from the latest video slots to table games to high-stakes poker, it’s available 24/7 at the region’s seven gaming facilities.
And if gambling’s not your thing, there are still plenty of other activities—a variety of dining options at each venue, Vegas-style entertainment and other amenities ranging from golf to horse racing—to enjoy. Here’s a run down on what the region’s gaming facilities have to offer.
Slot machines once weren’t that big of a deal at most casinos, but today, with sophisticated electronics and plenty of bells and whistles, they‘ve become a dominant attraction.
When Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway opens Aug.28, there will be about 11,000 slot machines available for play at the region’s gaming facilities stretching from Dayton to southern Indiana. And with the growth of penny slots and progressive jackpots, there’s a game for every pocketbook. Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg has the most slot machines among area venues, with 2,300, according to most recent data from the Indiana Gaming Commission.
The region’s three newest gaming venues —Miami Valley Gaming & Racing near Monroe, Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center in Anderson Township and the soon-to-open Hollywood Gaming in Dayton—are exclusively devoted to slots, or video lottery terminals as they prefer to be called.
If your tastes turn to games combining skill and luck, the region’s four casinos (three in southern Indiana and one in downtown Cincinnati) have nearly 300 table games to test. They range from the classic Blackjack (trying to beat the dealer closest to 21) to traditional craps (where you wager on a roll of the dice) and Roulette (where a croupier spins the wheel one way and then spins a ball in the opposite direction and you bet on which numbered slot it will land).
There are a variety of other games such as Pai Gow Poker, a Chinese card game of two hands from seven cards, and others such as Three Card Poker and Mississippi Stud. Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cincinnati has the most table games with 117, according to most recent data from the Ohio Casino Control Commission, including its 31-table World Series of Poker room.
When it comes time to take a break from gaming, there are almost as many food options as there are gaming tables as each venue offers something for every budget and appetite.
Horseshoe Casino, for example, offers six sit-down restaurant options: Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Bobby’s Burger Place, Jack Binion’s Steak, the Spread Buffet, Café Italia and Starbucks Coffee.
Miami Valley Gaming offers Cin City Sea & Steak, a fine dining restaurant; Acres Seasonal Buffet; Trifecta Eatery, offering pizza and burgers; MV Perks, a coffee shop; the 1803 Bar, which pays homage to Ohio as the 17th state in 1803; and the Center Bar, offering cocktails and spirits in the middle of the gaming floor.
Belterra Casino has its Buffet at Belterra, an all-you-can-eat breakfast, lunch and dinner; 19 Steak & Seafood, a premier steak house; Stadium Sports Bar & Grill; Starbucks; Casino Café, a New York style deli, and Out of Bounds Bar & Grill located in the golf clubhouse.
Rising Star offers River View Buffet, an all-you-can eat restaurant overlooking the river; Wellington’s, a fine dining restaurant offering choice cuts of beef, chops and fresh seafood; Queen City Market, serving Cincinnati favorites such as Graeter’s Ice Cream, LaRosa’s Pizza and Skyline Chili; and the Pub, offering beverages and appetizers and live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights.
Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg has Final Cut Steakhouse; Epic Buffet; Hops House 99; the H-Bar, serving appetizers and specialty drinks; Hollywood & Grind; and Celebrity Grill, offering classic American fare right on the casino floor.
Belterra Park’s five restaurants include Stadium Sports Bar & Grill, with more than 50 HD TVs; Favorites Steak & Pasta; Market Buffet, with seven cooking stations; Burger Brothers; and Nosh, for deli and coffee.
Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway will offer the Skybox Sports Bar, a full service restaurant, and a food court with three dining options and two racing concession areas.
Whether it’s big name entertainment, classic rock or up-and-coming local talent, there’s something for everyone at local gaming venues. Entertainment schedules are usually announced a month or so in advance, but recent bookings have included Alice In Chains, Diana Ross and Peter Frampton, and the Doobie Brothers at Horseshoe Casino; comedian Carolyn Rhae at Hollywood Casino; and Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan’s Grits & Glamour Tour at Rising Star.
Horse racing is half the fun at the region’s three newest venues—Miami Valley, Belterra Park and the soon-to-open Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway.
Built on the 122-acre historic River Downs site along the Ohio River, Belterra Park offers thoroughbred racing on a mile-long dirt track on 100 dates Thursday through Sunday until mid-October. Hollywood Gaming will offer harness racing beginning Oct. 3. Miami Valley’s racing season is from February through May. Next year, Belterra Park will offer Ohio’s only thoroughbred turf racing.
Even when the ponies aren’t running line, all three tracks offer off-track betting.
If golf is more your game, Belterra offers a Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole course on site and Rising Star has an 18-hole links-style course adjoining the casino.
And if you want to stay overnight, Belterra Casino offers 608 rooms in two towers following a recent expansion. Rising Star‘s hotel has nearly 300 rooms and amenities including an indoor pool, sauna and exercise room. In October, the $55 million Lawrenceburg Event Center and Hotel is slated to open near Hollywood Casino. It includes a 164-room Hilton DoubleTree Inn and an event center with 60,000 square feet of leasable space.