(Northfield) - Tuesday was the grand opening of the newly-renovated Thistledown Racino in Northfield Park and people hoping to win big filled the gaming facility to capacity.

There was a lot to celebrate. Ohio's newest casino not only has 1,000 video gaming terminals, it also employs 700 local residents.

The Racino also includes a diner with a gourmet chef, two food courts, a bar and a lounge, as well as the horse racing track. Live races begin April 19th.

The $88 million makeover began in August and was almost completed by mid-March.

Thistledown GM Rick Skinner says there are still a few projects to complete. Outside video gaming terminals and smoking patios will be done by the end of April, as well as the Diamond Lounge.

The smoking patio will allow patrons to smoke while the gamble, the only place you will be allowed to so in the state.

(Photos by Julie Courtright/WTAM 1100)

On Tuesday, lines of people hoping to get the first look at the Racino stretched from the front door to the parking lot before doors opened to the public at 5:00 p.m. Shortly after the doors opened there were already people hitting the jackpot.

The first big winner hit over $3,000, and seconds later someone else won over $2,000. Skinner says another thing that sets Thistledown apart from other casinos is patrons have a better chance to win big.

Skinner says, "We made the conscious decision to have our progressive meters, which are the high-end jackpots, increment faster".

Entertainment for the evening included a concert by 2006 American Idol winner Taylor Hicks and performances by several local bands and dualing pianos in the V.I.P. Lounge.

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