The main draw to Ohio’s casinos and racinos is, of course, the plethora of gambling options offered.
But many Ohio casino locations also augment their main attractions with an array of other entertainment options, from different types of restaurants to live entertainment events.
There’s another new option for visitors to Ohio’s four casinos and seven racinos in 2023. This year will be the first summer during which casino patrons in the state can engage in in-person sports betting. Since legal betting on sports went live in the state on Jan. 1, each Ohio casino and racino has added an on-premises retail sportsbook and areas where sports fans and bettors can place bets, hang out and watch sporting events on big-screen TVs.
With Memorial Day kicking off the start of summer next week, here’s a look at some of the concerts, events and more you can find this coming summer at Ohio’s casinos and racinos.
MGM Northfield Park presents variety of events
Located just outside of Cleveland, MGM Northfield Park maintains a robust calendar of touring acts throughout the year. With its 2,600-person capacity and top-line bookings, MGM Northfield Park’s Center Stage is one of the top theater-sized concert venues in Northern Ohio.
This summer, the racino’s Center Stage features an impressive array of events, from performances by Rock and Roll Hall of Famers like Santana, Parliament-Funkadelic and Pat Benatar and comedy podcast duo Bobby Lee and Andrew Santino to MMA fighting and psychic medium Matt Fraser.
- Sunday, May 28 (8 p.m.): Puscifer | Tickets: $55-$75
- Saturday, June 3 (7:30 p.m.): World Fighting Championships 155 | Tickets: $45-$100
- Saturday, June 24 (7 p.m.): Bad Friends podcast with Andrew Santino and Bobby Lee | Tickets: $49.50-$75
- Sunday, June 25 (8 p.m.): Santana | Tickets: $199.50-$420
- Thursday, June 29 (7:30 p.m.): Counting Crows with Dashboard Confessional | Tickets: $149.50-$209.50
- Friday, July 7 (8 p.m.): Scotty McCreery with Dylan Marlowe |Tickets: $46.50-$95
- Friday, July 14 (8 p.m.): Ann Wilson of Heart with Tripsitter | Tickets: $35-$105
- Saturday, July 22 (8 p.m.): Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo | Tickets: $82.50-$155
- Friday, July 28 (8 p.m.): Donny Osmond |Tickets: $75-$159.50
- Thursday, Aug. 3 (7:30 p.m.): Diana Krall | Tickets: $72.50-$169.50
- Friday, Aug. 4 (8 p.m.): Tesla | Tickets: $47.50-$70.50
- Sunday, Aug. 6 (7:30 p.m.): Happy Together Tour featuring The Turtles, Little Anthony, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, The Vogues, The Classics IV and The Cowsills | Tickets: $45.50-$105
- Thursday, Aug. 10 (7:30 p.m.): Matt Fraser |Tickets: $42.50-$95
- Friday, Aug. 11 (8 p.m.): Three Dog Night | Tickets: $55-$120
- Sunday, Aug. 13 (7:30 p.m.): The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute (Beatles tribute band) | Tickets: $34.50-$75
- Thursday, Aug. 24 (7:30 p.m.): Parliament-Funkadelic featuring George Clinton | Tickets: $65-$115
- Saturday, Aug. 26 (8 p.m.): Don Felder | Tickets: $37.50-$120
- Saturday, Sept. 9 (8 p.m.): Air Supply | Tickets: $62.50-$85
- Tuesday, Sept. 12 (7:30 p.m.): George Thorogood & the Destroyers |Tickets: $45-$109.50
- Saturday, Sept. 16 (8 p.m.): Skid Row and Buckcherry | Tickets: $37.50-67.50
- Sunday, Sept. 17 (7:30 p.m.): Leonid and Friends (Chicago tribute) | Tickets: $27.50-$69.50
- Saturday, Sept. 23 (7:30 p.m.): Beth Hart | Tickets: $45-$95
MGM Northfield Park is also home to a BetMGM Sportsbook, located in the back of the property next to the TAP Sports Bar. There are 14 sports betting kiosks and five teller windows, as well as a 232-square-foot video wall, 16 odds boards and wait service from TAP Sports Bar.
Hard Rock Cincinnati brings back outdoor summer concerts
Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati is bringing back outdoor concerts this summer for the first time since Hard Rock International purchased JACK Casino Cincinnati in 2019.
According to Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati president Justin Wyborn, up to 4,000 tickets will be sold for concerts in the casino’s outdoor space, dubbed the Hard Rock Cincinnati Lawn. At least one more additional concert will be announced for the space at a later date.
Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati’s inaugural summer concert series includes a pair of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees — The Steve Miller Band and The Beach Boys (warning: this touring version of the Beach Boys only includes one original band member, vocalist Mike Love).
Here’s Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati’s full outdoor summer concert lineup so far:
- Friday, July 7 (7:30 p.m.): The Steve Miller Band | Tickets: $64-$94
- Thursday, July 20 (6:30 p.m.): Ludacris, Flo Rida, and Ashanti | Tickets: $124-$204
- Friday, Aug. 11 (7:30 p.m.): The Beach Boys | Tickets: $34-$64
- Saturday, Aug. 26 (7 p.m.): Live with Fuel | Tickets: $44-$104
- Sunday, Sept. 3 (7:30 p.m.): Staind | Tickets: $64-$94.
- Friday, Sept. 15 (7:30 p.m.): KC and the Sunshine Band | Tickets: $44-$104
Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati also hosts indoor concert events in its Event Center. This summer, the Event Center will feature performances by top comedians Whitney Cummings (June 17) and Gabriel Iglesias (Aug. 4), as well appearances from Australian male stripper revue Thunder Down Under (July 14-15).
Live music from a variety of cover bands is featured at the casino’s Hard Rock Cafe every weekend.
Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati is also home to one of four retail sportsbooks in Hamilton County. Since the Jan. 1 launch of sports betting in Ohio, the Hard Rock Cincinnati Sportsbook has been one of the top performing retail sportsbooks in the state in terms of handle and revenue.
The sportsbook features a lounge area and the casino added over 150 TVs, 33 betting kiosks and six betting windows to accommodate sports betting in the venue.
Ohio Hollywood properties feature Barstool Sportsbook and restaurant spaces
Hollywood Casino Columbus features live acoustic music by local artists every weekend in its Sunset Patio bar space.
Hollywood Casino Columbus also presents the occasional larger concert in its Event Center, located near the casino’s Cashier Cage. So far, the only concert scheduled for this summer is an appearance by Rodney Carrington. The country-flavored comedian/musician performs at the Event Center on July 8, with shows at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets are $65.
Hollywood Casino Toledo showcases live music — cover and tribute acts mostly — in its H Lounge. Free shows lined up for early summer include Bruno Mars tribute act Uptown Funk on May 27 and Whitesnake tribute band Slow an’ Easy on June 2.
Hollywood Dayton Gaming Raceway also features live music in its own H Lounge space on the weekends from local artists and DJs.
Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley in Youngstown specializes in hosting watch parties for various UFC and boxing matches, broadcasting the pay-per-view events in its Barstool Sportsbook area.
All four Hollywood-branded properties have a sports bar-like Barstool Sportsbook and restaurant spaces with full restaurant and bar service and, of course, oodles of TVs to watch all of the day’s sports action.
More casino/racino summer fun around Ohio
Belterra Park racino in Cincinnati, which boasts Ohio’s only turf track, features live cover bands on Fridays in its Stadium Sports Bar & Grill.
On June 2, Belterra Park hosts the Best of Ohio Series, in which Ohio-bred horses compete in five races with $500,000 in purses. Post time is 12:25 p.m. That same day, Belterra is also hosting its inaugural Jurassic Charity Races, featuring human runners in dinosaur costumes competing to support the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati and the Dragonfly Foundation. Those races begin at 7 p.m.
Belterra is also home to a retail FanDuel Sportsbook. The 2,300-square-foot space includes nearly two dozen big TVs, recliner seats and more.
Miami Valley Gaming in Warren County showcases live area rock, country, blues and dance acts in its Center Bar on weekends.
The Lebanon, Ohio-based racino also features its own The Race & Sportsbook, a retail sportsbook in the simulcast racing room, where visitors can also bet on and watch the live harness racing. The space includes 16 self-serve sports betting kiosks, a pair of betting windows and numerous TVs.
Other brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at Ohio casinos and racinos where you can place in-person bets and watch sports this summer:
- Columbus’ Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs is home to a Caesars Sportsbook.
- JACK Cleveland Casino and the nearby JACK Thistledown Racino both have betJACK-branded retail sportsbooks on the premises.