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The Big Gamble: Casinos Designed with Their Regions in Mind

(WGGB) — Casino proposals have grabbed headlines and made for plenty of talk around the area, but what do they really look like and how do they really affect the community once their built?

When you really dig into how and where casinos are built, you realize just how ever-changing the industry really is.

ABC40 explored three casinos from here to the Midwest, all with comparable populations and social struggles as western Massachusetts.

Three casinos and three very different designs.

Our look into “The Big Gamble” began at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. before we traveled to casinos in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

“We intentionally chose not to be in an urban community,” says Paul Brody of Mohegan Sun.

A destination casino, Mohegan Sun features two large gaming floors connected by a sports arena, high end restaurants, and dozens of stores. It also has a 34 story hotel.

Brody, the Vice President of Development for Mohegan, says it’s a bigger version of the entertainment and gaming facility the Mohegan tribe is trying to build in Palmer.

“The size and scope in Palmer will be appropriate for the market. We hope to develop out and we hope to see the community development and other retail and commercial development around our parcel,” says Brody.

From the country to the city, the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh is much different.

A big box design, Rivers has no hotel and restaurants are tucked alongside a gaming floor that stretches for as far as the eye can see.

You won’t find any arenas or retail areas in the Pittsburgh casino. That’s because they encourage all customers to use public transportation to get to things like sporting events or the mall.

“It’s about how do we use all the elements of the north shore to create a great entertainment destination. Its through partnerships, cooperation, communication,” says Craig Clark, General Manager of the Rivers Casino.

Hard hats and construction zones filled our last casino stop at the soon to be opened Horeshoe Casino in downtown Cincinnati.

Horseshoe will be operated by Caesars when it opens.

Organizers say it’s one of the first inter-urban casinos in the country to encourage customers to venture outside the casino.

“The city has undertaken using public dollar to improve the infrastructure but into the neighborhoods so we can encourage casino goers to go into the neighborhoods,” says Cincinnati Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls.

Horseshoe won’t have a hotel and it will have outward facing restaurants. Vice Mayor Qualls hopes that even customers who don’t gamble will make a revitalized neighborhood part of their weekend routine.

You might recall that Mohegan opened in 1996 as a much smaller casino. They then essentially doubled in size.

It’s that original 1996 size they are proposing for Palmer.

The Pittsburgh casino, meanwhile, has been open for four years and is continually looking for ways to expand.

The Cincinnati casino is revving up for a Spring 2013 opening.