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Cincinnati casino gears up for big opening next week

Feb. 27, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

CINCINNATI -- Cocktail servers in red bustiers and short, black skirts carried around cocktails, dealers practiced taking chips and doling out winnings, and slot machines chimed as the last of four voter-approved casinos in Ohio geared up Tuesday for its opening in less than a week.

Minus the gamblers, the $400 million Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati looked every bit like a fully functioning casino during a preview for members of the media.

"Bring the dice in! What are you waiting for?" yelled a supervisor at a craps table where dealers took turns pretending to gamble and testing themselves. They mimicked what a real craps table will be like, with clapping, cheers of "Woo hoo!" and plenty of shouting.

The workers also were preparing for a dry run of the sleek two-story, 400,000-square-foot casino on Wednesday, when about 30 agents with the Ohio Casino Control Commission will be on the lookout for problems big and small.

While the casino already has its gambling license, it must pass the commission's test on Wednesday in order to open to the public on Monday.

If all the issues are minor, the casino would get the go-ahead by the end of the week. If any major operational problems arise, the opening could be delayed.

"Think of it as a dress rehearsal," said Matt Schuler, executive director of the commission. "It's an opportunity for the casino and its employees to show they can do everything by the book -- security, surveillance, all financial transactions, the movement of the money from the floor to the count room. We will watch everything."

Casinos in Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus all opened last year on time after their dry runs.