Penn National Gaming presents Rossford with $200,000 checkWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Penn National Gaming, which operates Hollywood Casino Toledo, presented a $200,000 check to the City of Rossford on Nov. 12 during a city council meeting in which the mayor also issued a congratulatory proclamation to the company.
Rossford Mayor Neil A. MacKinnon III accepted the check, which is intended to help the city underwrite personnel costs for its police and fire departments in conjunction with increased visitation to the area since the casino opened in May. Presenting the check were Penn National President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Wilmott, Hollywood Casino General Manager Richard St. Jean and Hollywood Casino Assistant General Manager Mike Galle.
The grant fulfills a commitment made to the city by Penn National during its push for the successful 2009 ballot initiative that authorized four casinos in Ohio, Wilmott said. Penn National pledged at that time to help address the potential increased burden on local fire and police services.
“Three years ago when we were trying to present the campaign to facilitate these casinos here in Ohio, we spent a lot of time in Northwest Ohio. We knew the location was going to be within the city of Toledo, but we were going to be right on the border of the city of Rossford,” Wilmott said. “We worked with the former mayor and others in town to get their support. We promised to be good corporate citizens and recognized there’d be some impact from our casino in their community and we just wanted to acknowledge that today by presenting a $200,000 check to help support the fire and police efforts here.”
The grant reflects the casino’s commitment to being a good corporate citizen in both Toledo and Rossford, said St. Jean in a news release.
“While the City of Toledo has first responder responsibility for our casino and has constructed a new fire station nearby, we know that many of our customers choose to travel through Rossford and, while this can have a positive impact on the local Rossford businesses and city hotels, we want to help the city handle increased volume on its roads, which is typical of any major new economic development project,” St. Jean said in the release. “As Penn National has experienced in other jurisdictions, we fully anticipate Hollywood Casino will serve as an economic catalyst and a magnet for additional growth and opportunity within both Toledo and Rossford.”
Rossford mayor Neil A. MacKinnon III said he appreciated Penn National’s support.
“It’d be hard to find a day that you couldn’t find a team member from Penn Gaming in a Rossford business,” MacKinnon said. “Their participation in the RBA [Rossford Business Association] has been phenomenal. They don’t just send one guy to the meetings. There’s usually three to four of them there, and they are the principles.”
Also speaking during the short ceremony were former Rossford mayor Bill Verbosky Jr. and Rossford City Councilman Larry Oberdorf Sr.
Verbosky said the casino is a “good neighbor” to the city of Rossford.
“We were always promised [by Penn] that should everything pass and they came into town they would be good neighbors and good for the area and that has proven to be the case,” Verbosky said. “We are very, very happy they are here as our neighbor … and we thank them for their ongoing commitment.”
Oberdorf said the casino has proven its detractors wrong.
“A lot of people had apprehensions about Penn coming into this community area and I think Penn has answered with good qualification all of those apprehensions,” Oberdorf said. “They’ve been very helpful, very organized. We haven’t had the traffic problems we had assumed or any of the other illicit things some people thought would happen. It’s really a professional organization and anytime we’ve gone to them they’ve bent over backwards to help us. I’m extremely happy to have them in our locale.”
The $320 million Hollywood Casino Toledo became the second casino in the state when it opened May 29.
Gamblers wagered a total of $138.8 million in Toledo in October, down about 9 percent from the $153.1 million wagered in September, which is down about 35 percent from the $215.2 million wagered in Toledo in June, its first full month of operation, according to month reports from the Ohio Casino Control Commission. Taxable revenue for Hollywood Casino Toledo in October was $14.8 million, down from $15.9 million in September and $20.4 million in June.
For more information, visit www.hollywoodcasinotoledo.com.