CLEVELAND - Ohio's first casino opened Monday night with long lines of gamblers ready to roll the dice, a glitzy music video instead of a traditional ribbon cutting and a taste of Las Vegas with two bare-midriff showgirls wearing plumed hats and sequined tops.
The video was projected on the facade of the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland and, playing off the window grid on the renovated department store, showed images from the city's history, sports teams and tourist attractions, with plenty of cards and cascading poker chips for good measure.
The final scene showed the curtain opening to the casino, capping a twilight ceremony in front of a VIP crowd at a reception and gawkers outside police lines.
Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment owns 20 percent of the $350 million project and will receive fees for managing it on behalf of majority owner Rock Gaming LLC.
The general manager, Marcus Glover, asked the tuxedo and gown crowd that got the first chance at the slots to be considerate of dealers.
"They're very nervous. Be a little patient with them," he said.
Samantha O'Neill, 23, a medical student, studied for a final exam while waiting in the casino admission line with her grandmother, Rose O'Neill, 85, both of suburban Mentor. Samantha won a pair of early admission wristbands and brought her grandmother, a big slots fan.
"I did not bring any money, I'm here to give her support," said the granddaughter. Her grandmother brought cash but wouldn't say how much, though she said she would split any winnings with Samantha.
Sam Cardinal and his wife, Stephanie, of Macedonia, each brought $150 and a lot of experience playing the slots and table games at casinos from North Carolina to Canada.
"We always pay our bills before we go gambling, so it's our free and clear money," said Sam Cardinal as the couple waited behind a police barricade to enter the casino. "I never owe a penny before I walk in the door, so it's all money I can have fun with."
When Stephanie was asked if $150 was her limit, her husband quickly answered, "Yes."
The media was barred from inside the casino.
Ohio voters in 2009 approved casino gambling at four sites in the state with backers promising new jobs and opponents warning about more gambling addicts.
A casino in Toledo will open in two weeks, and casinos in Cincinnati and Columbus are set to open by next year.
A group of unions announced Monday that they had reached an agreement with the operators of the Cincinnati and Cleveland casinos that will allow workers there to be represented by a union of their choice.
The Cleveland casino has about 2,100 slot machines, 63 table games, a 30-table World Series of Poker room and a VIP lounge.