ThistleDown Racino opens its doors, charts new course in Northeast Ohio gaming

Posted on Posted in JACK Entertainment, JACK Thistledown Racino, News

The paint is dry, 700 new employees are ready to serve and 1,150 Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) are ready to roll. ThistleDown Racino is now open to the public.


The 89-year-old Northeast Ohio institution has undergone $88 million in improvements to couple the time-honored tradition of live and simulcast horse racing with the modern technology of VLTs.


“This is an exciting time for the Rock Ohio Caesars family,” said Rick Skinner, general manager at ThistleDown Racino. “We’re not just turning the page to tomorrow, we’re writing a whole new chapter in the storied history of ThistleDown.”


Grand Opening


ThistleDown celebrates its public grand opening in a big way this week. American Idol winner and Las Vegas headliner Taylor Hicks will kick off the festivities with free concerts for Total Rewards members on opening night and on April 12. The concerts will begin at 8 p.m. each night and will be held in the Grandstand area of ThistleDown Racino. Total Rewards members can get their tickets by visiting the Promotional Kiosk beginning at 5 p.m. each concert night. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. for General Admission seating. Guests will receive one ticket per Total Rewards account. Membership is free and anyone over the age of 21 can sign up at the Total Rewards center located on the Racino floor. Taylor Hicks, whose music is an eclectic mix of Southern soul, R&B, country and blues, starred as Teen Angel in the 2008 Broadway national tour of Grease and is currently headlining through 2013 at Paris Las Vegas.


In addition to the Taylor Hicks concert, opening night features two live bands in Slush, our center of nightlife that provides a twist on classic frozen cocktails, and a dance party on the Racino floor featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers Scream Team. Guests will also want to swipe their Total Rewards card at the promotional kiosk for a chance to win their share of $10,000 in cash prizes or a Norwegian Cruise Lines cruise at 10 p.m. In order to extend the winning at ThistleDown Racino, the $10,000 giveaways will repeat nightly through Friday, April 12.


The New ThistleDown


ThistleDown has hosted dozens of epic races, entertained the best in sports and entertainment and has undergone many changes since it originally opened in 1924 as one of Ohio’s first racetracks. The new ThistleDown Racino features a 57,000-square-foot gaming space with 1,150 VLTs in many of the latest themes and some old favorites as well. ThistleDown is the only Racino in Ohio licensed to carry popular themes such as The Wizard of Oz, Michael Jackson and Aladdin.


Dining and nightlife play a big part in the fun at ThistleDown Racino with six new outlets:

  • The Diner, offering a fresh take on familiar diner favorites;
  • The American Burger Bar, featuring big, juicy burgers, hand-cut fries and traditional milkshakes;
  • The Mane Street Deli, with overstuffed sandwiches and more than 25 toppings and sauces to choose from;
  • Steaks and Rings, serving up cheese steaks piled high with fresh cut onion rings;
  • Center Bar, the Racino’s main bar features 17 big screens and personal table-top audio, allowing guests to never miss a call;
  • Slush, located on the east end of the gaming floor, is the centerpiece of ThistleDown nightlife. Slush features more than 20 flavors of frozen drinks, a stage for live entertainment, daily Mexican food specials and a unique outdoor patio that will open later this spring.


With the addition of VLTs, ThistleDown is now open 24/7 and offers complimentary parking and shuttle service between the Racino and its adjacent 2,400-space parking lot. Valet parking is also available and is complimentary for our Diamond and Seven Stars Total Rewards members.


ThistleDown Joins the Total Rewards Network


ThistleDown Racino is now a Total Rewards property, joining a vast network of Caesars Entertainment properties in the gaming and racing industries’ award-winning guest loyalty program. Membership is free and guests may sign up online at Participants must be 21 or older and may earn and redeem credits at more than 50 Total Rewards properties worldwide. Racing customers will also be eligible to earn tier credits for wagers during both live and simulcast racing.


Racino Development Background


In summer 2012, Rock Ohio Caesars submitted a license application to the Ohio Lottery Commission (OLC), and was subsequently granted a temporary license to add VLTs to ThistleDown. VLT operation is subject to applicable laws and regulations by OLC and the Ohio State Racing Commission, which oversees horseracing at the state’s seven racetracks. Construction to transform the facility into a Racino began last August, and recruiting efforts to hire an additional 700 team members began last fall.