JACK Thistledown Racino Opens New Outdoor Gambling Area

Located in North Randall, Ohio, the JACK Thistledown Racino premiered a brand-new gambling space last week. The venue now includes an outdoor space with gaming machines and permits customers to smoke if they so choose. Titled Revel Oak, the two-story open-air venue is the first big upgrade for the property since it opened.

Details of the Space

The new space was created at a time when casinos and racinos across the US are considering doing away with smoking. In Ohio, smoking is not an option so casinos have to be creative with adding spaces for smoking. There are louvers on three walls of the gambling patio so that fresh air can flow through freely. It is located outside the casino so that smoking can occur while players enjoy slot machines.

The space is unique because it can function year-round. During colder weather, the patio has heating equipment so that patrons can be warm even on the coldest days. The area was designed well so that Thistledown could accommodate smokers at all times.

For gaming, the patio includes 250 slot machines. The property has 1,700 in operation and decided to take a small portion and add them to the patio. Technically, the slots are video lottery terminals, as the property operates as a racino based on the state’s gambling laws.

Officials of the casino have stated the patio has room for around 100 more devices. More games may be added once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in the state. General Manager of the racino, Angela Matthews, stated that during the pandemic, the venue has noticed that players like spacing between the machines. They might decide to keep the patio more open and not add the games, taking a wait and see approach.

Creating Something for Everyone

The new outdoor area was created to provide something for everyone at the racino. They wanted the patio to feel comfortable and be open to players who smoke as well as those who do not. The space was added to the front of the casino and can be accessed from the gaming floor. So, if patrons want to head outside for a bit and play, they can.

The old patio area of the racino will remain open. It is designated as the venue’s official smoking area. In the state, smoking indoors is prohibited in racinos and casinos. This old area was used for smokers who wanted to take a break from gaming to have a cigarette and then come back inside. It will remain open, but it seems that most people will probably choose to use the new patio instead because it also offers games.

It is interesting to note that this was one of only a few major expansions of the property since it opened in the 1920s. The property was originally a horse racetrack. By 2013, the property added the video lottery terminals, which was a big move.

The new smoking patio adds even more space, but no new games were added to the total count offered by the operator. When the casino began offering VLTs, it was owned by Caesars Entertainment. This time around, the racino is owned by JACK Entertainment. The company obtained the casino in a deal that cost $843.3 million, which included the racino and a casino in Cleveland.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.