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Hundreds of gamblers get sneak peek at new racino

Area gamblers weren’t allowed to sit down and play at one of Miami Valley Gaming’s 1,600 video lottery terminals Thursday night, but they did get a sneak peek at the new $175 million racino’s gaming floor and four restaurants and bars.

The line stretched out the door of the gaming facility located on Ohio 63 near Interstate 75 in Turtlecreek Township as hundreds of people braved the cold and rain to get a first look and sign up for a Miami Valley Gaming Club card. Racino officials said guests who sign up early for the card “will not only beat the lines on opening day, but will get a free T-shirt, $15 of free play and 5,000 points.”

Anthony Howard, 32, of Dayton, was among the first to sign up for a card.

“I’m hoping to get lucky,” said Howard, whose biggest jackpot playing slot machines was $300. “It’s a nice colorful place.”

Andre Robinson, 36, of Dayton, took a look around the racino, but decided the line for the club card was too “chaotic.” He said he’d return at a later time for his.

“It looks like Christmas with all the lights. Very bright, it’s nice,” Robinson said of the facility.

The racino will celebrate its grand opening on Dec. 12. Miami Valley Gaming officials have projected the racino will generate $125 million in revenue in its first year and pump $24 million into the local economy. Miami Valley Gaming has hired 525 workers so far and are still accepting applications.

Miami Valley Gaming general manager Jim Simms said “we opened extra stations (Thursday night) trying to get everybody through as fast as possible.” He said the racino is almost ready for its grand opening. The only area still under construction is the enclosed grandstand near the 5/8th mile track that can seat 1,000 people.

“Everybody worked hard to make sure we executed the plans. Our associates are excited and confident, they can’t wait. I think it’s going to be a home run,” said Simms.

Simms declined to disclose details about grand opening festivities but did say “there will be a special light show,” and entertainment to welcome an anticipated 20,000 people.

Prior to opening day, Miami Valley Gaming will host a “friends and family” event from 7-9 p.m. on Dec. 8.

“They get a chance to come in and play and the machines will be on at that point. Then we’ll have a VIP night from 6-9 p.m. on (Dec.) 10,” said Simms.

Simms downplayed the impact other gambling venues, such as a proposed racino in Dayton and the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cincinnati, would have on Miami Valley Gaming’s project.

“We try to create competitive advantages. For example, we’ve got the best VLT games and best VLT systems in the world. We’ll be able to offer bonuses and promotions that nobody has,” said Simms.

MVG executives said they want to build relationships with community members and their guests.

“We will have a customer feedback luncheon with players every month. We’ll sit down in the front entrance and talk to our guests and hear what they think about the place,” said Simms.

Nearly a 1,000 workers — many from 12 to 15 contractors from the Dayton and Cincinnati region — helped build the racino. In addition to 1,600 video lottery terminals, the racino offers four restaurants, including Cin City a steak and seafood restaurant, a seasonal buffet, called Acres, it sits next to Trifecta restaurant that will serve burgers and chili.

Cin City and the Acres buffet will also have room for private parties. Miami Valley Gaming nabbed Executive Chef Rensford Abrigo Nelson from the SC Prime Steakhouse in Las Vegas for the restaurants, and Jeff Nelson, senior marketing manager said guests will love him.

“I think you’ll see a lot of our chef. He’s got a great personality and he’s very passionate about food,” Nelson said.

Miami Valley Gaming is also giving away $75,000 in free play through Dec. 12 to club members. Each day a new winner is selected, with amounts increasing by $1,000 a day, officials said.

Staff Writer Denise Callahan contributed to this report

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