Jack Cleveland Casino Lost Business during the Republican National Convention
Jack Cleveland Casino hopes the end of the Republican National Convention in the city signals an uptick in its business. The casino’s management complained that the RNC’s presence had a withering effect on operations last week.
The former Horseshoe Casino, which rebranded to Jack Casino in June, did not say how bad the numbers were from the week of June 18 to June 22. The Ohio Casino Control Commission releases the numbers in August, so the public will be able to see what the dip looked like.
Reasons Business Slumped
The Republican convention presented a variety of challenges for Jack Cleveland. Road and security restrictions near the casino made it difficult for locals to drive to Public Square. Also, the casino’s Ontario Street garage was limited to only 200 parking spaces, presumably for security purposes.
Protests were held outside on the Public Square directly outside the casino’s front door. This made it harder for gamblers to enter the casino, becuase it was crowded with protesters, security forces, street vendors, and journalists.
Cleveland Workers Went Elsewhere
Jack Cleveland depends on business from locals. Because of the traffic congestion, security clamp-down, and protests, many downtown Cleveland workers who spend their lunch hours or afterhours in the casino simply stayed home. Fans from Cleveland Indians home games often visit the casino before and after games, but the Indians also happened to be out of town last week.
One might have expected RNC delegates to visit the Jack Cleveland Casino, as GOP elites tend to have money to spend. Instead, the walkway between Quicken Loans Arena and Tower City was closed. This made it difficult for visiting Republicans to gamble at the casino.
Challenging from a Business Perspective
Mark Tricano, the SVP of Operations for Jack Cleveland Casino, said in a phone interview with Cleveland.com on Friday, “From a business perspective, it was certainly challenging. The vast preponderance of our business is local and when they have concerns about safety or traffic they kind of avoided downtown this week.”
Team Jack posted a call to customers on Twitter this week, indicating it was business-as-usual. The tweet said, “All regular parking operations at the JACK Parking Garage resumed at 7am this morning. We hope to see you today.”
Jack Casino said it had permission to keep its bar open until 4 am, but this did not help. Even sales of liquor were light,
Restaurant Owners Reported Similar Results
Other business leaders said business was slow for them, as well. Restaurant owners said business was light, because many downtown Cleveland workers shied away from the congestion in the center of the city. Presumably, those workers either stayed home on sick days, were encouraged to work from home by their bosses, or took vacation time.
Fears Before the Convention
Despite the downturn in business, Mark Tricano said the Republican National Convention was a big success for Cleveland. Tricano said, “For us to get through the week without any major safety issues or concerns is a success. I think in terms of a measurement of success (for the convention) it is not going to be measured over revenues for a seven-day period.”
The mere fact that the RNC event happened amidst controversy, political turmoil, and the threat of violence was a big success for Cleveland. The same security presence which drove off customers helped the Republicans to stage a convention without a hitch. In the months leading up to the convention, everyone from Republican delegates to Black Lives Matter said they would bring guns to the convention.
Cleveland officials and Ohio Governor John Kasick said they could not stop people from bringing firearms, due to open-carry laws in the state. With the identity politics and vitriolic hatred put forward by various political factions over the past year, locals were concerned that the convention would erupt in violence. Besides being a human disaster, it would give Cleveland a black eye.
Should Improve Cleveland’s Tourism Image
Instead, the week came and went without major incident. Mark Tricano said the city’s response had made a good impression on the nation.
Tricano added, “I think the city did a phenomenal job and it will pay off in the long term for us.“