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Caesars to Invest, Manage Dan Gilbert’s Ohio Casinos

Caesars Entertainment Corp., the world’s biggest casino company formerly called Harrah’s, will invest in and manage two Ohio casinos being developed by Dan Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans Inc.

The joint venture, Rock Ohio Caesars LLC, will be majority owned by Gilbert’s Rock Gaming LLC, and will spend $600 million on a Cleveland casino and $400 million on a Cincinnati property, according to a statement today. Las Vegas-based Caesars didn’t specify how much it is investing.

Ohio voters approved in November 2009 a plan to allow a casino in each of the state’s four biggest cities. Penn National Gaming Inc., the operator of 23 casinos and racetracks, is building casinos in Toledo and Columbus, after backing the ballot issue with Gilbert last year. Gilbert is owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association.

The first phase of the downtown Cleveland facility may open by late 2011, according to the statement. The Cincinnati casino will be built on 20 acres of vacant land on the downtown’s northeast side known as Broadway Commons.

Penn National plans to open its two casinos in 2012.

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