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Westside Businesses Blame Casino for Local Shop Closures

COLUMBUS (Rob Wells/Kate Liebers) -- Nearby businesses did not know exactly what to expect when the city welcomed a casino in West Columbus. Now, some are discovering the main attraction has drained their customer base.

Owners of George's American Grill, for example, said the new Hollywood Casino across the street has caused them to close their shop after decades of service.

Many had initially hoped the venue would pump new life into the neighborhood landmark. Instead, any new visitors seem to spend money only within the casino walls.

"Once they go into the casino, they stay in the casino," said owner Nick Mavromatis. "It didn't generate the business that we as small business owners had hoped for."

George's American Grill is the second company to close lately.

Those affiliated with the casino project said the community has gained more businesses than it has lost. They said 34 other businesses have either opened or renovated.

Casino managers said there are plans for a new hotel on the property -- another facility expected to boost local businesses.
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