JACK Thistledown Racino last week premiered its new 12,000-square-foot outdoor gambling patio that features a number of gaming machines and permits smoking.
The opening of the two-story open-air venue called Revel Oak marks the first major upgrade at the North Randall, Ohio-based racing and gaming complex.
With louvers on three walls that allow free flow of fresh air, the new area is technically located outside the racino and thus enables the smoking portion of the racino’s patrons to light a cigarette while playing on the slot machines available. However, it should be noted that it is completely covered and equipped with heating so that it can accommodate players even on the coldest days.
The newly launched space currently features 250 of JACK Thistledown’s 1,700 slot machines, or video lottery terminals as they are referred to in Ohio’s gambling law. Property officials said last week that there is room for about 100 more gambling devices in the patio for the time when state-mandated coronavirus-related restrictions on spacing are lifted.
However, property General Manager Angela Matthews noted that they have learned in the year after the pandemic hit that many of their players appreciate more spacing and that they might keep things the way they are after restrictions are relaxed.
A Space for Everyone
Ms. Matthews further noted that their goal with the new outdoor area was to create “something for everyone; not just the for people who smoke” and that they wanted the patio to feel comfortable.
The new space is located on the front side of the property and is accessible from the gaming floor. The facility offers patrons an unobstructed flow of outside air and is equipped with a commercial-grade exhaust system.
Its design includes wood accents, greenery, and unique lighting that further accentuates the outdoor setting.
The racino’s old patio will remain open. It has a low ceiling and a concrete floor. It has been largely promoted as the property’s smoking area. Under Ohio law, smoking indoors at the state’s casinos and racinos is strictly prohibited.
Property officials did not reveal how much was invested into the new space. JACK Thistledown first opened doors in the mid-1920s as a horse racetrack. Horse racing still takes place at the property. The casino portion with video lottery terminals was added in the summer of 2013. At the time it was owned by Las Vegas casino operator Caesars Entertainment.
JACK Entertainment, formerly Rock Gaming, purchased JACK Thistledown along with JACK Cleveland Casino and JACK Cincinnati Casino in 2016. In 2019, the company entered into an agreement to sell its Cleveland casino and JACK Thistledown to real estate investment trust VICI Property in a $843.3 million all-cash deal.
VICI then leased back the two properties to JACK Entertainment under a master triple-net lease agreement. The casino operator pays $65.9 million in an annual rent to the REIT.
Source: See inside JACK Thistledown Racino’s new, climate-controlled outdoor gaming patio, Cleveland.com, March 31, 2021
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