Blanke Granted Casino License For Put-in-Bay

Blanke Granted Casino License For Put-in-Bay

Blanke Granted Casino License For Put-in-Bay

In a shocking turn of events, Put-in-Bay businessman John Blanke has been granted a casino license for an as-of-yet unbuilt establishment on the lot that used to be home to T&J’s Smokehouse. The Ohio Casino and Gaming Commission, so widely expected to deny the application that it was viewed as an afterthought, stunned observers by granting a Type-1 license to Mr. Blanke, which will allow him to operate a casino with both games of chance a la slot machines, and table games such as poker and roulette. The Commission denied Mr. Blanke a Type-3 license to operate a sportsbook on the site, but only on a technicality, and it is believed that by the time construction is complete, Mr. Blanke will be approved for a Type-3 license as well.

Property Was Originally Believed To Be Meant For A Pool Bar

When Mr. Blanke originally purchased the land, it was believed to be in pursuit of opening another pool bar for the downtown area, and most were still operating under that assumption. Members of the Put-in-Bay community, from residents to government officials, have been blindsided by the news, most residents never hearing about the application in the first place, and local officials fully expecting the application to be denied. There is no law or ordinance on the books that would prevent the construction of the casino if the proper licensing was obtained, so Put-in-Bay is set to embrace the reality that there will be legal gambling on the island in time for the 2025 season.

Plan Your Own Visit To PIB, Then Read On For More News

Additional Plans For The Lot Raise Eyebrows

What the new complex will look like now is anyone’s guess. Nearly an afterthought in light of the casino license news, we’ve learned that Mr. Blanke has also expressed intentions of operating a strip club on the site. Mr. Blanke made his fortune in adult entertainment, having owned and operated large Vegas-style strip clubs in Florida.

While resistance is expected from the Village of Put-in-Bay for these plans, the Ohio Revised Code will make things difficult. No zoning law presently exists on the island that would prohibit an adult entertainment establishment, and while the ORC does allow such ordinances, they must be motivated by reasons other than the establishment itself, such as combating lower property values or an increased criminal element brought about by the strip club. Were they unable to prove that the zoning law was not targeted at the strip club itself, it would be a violation of the First Amendment.

There would be state-level zoning regulations that would prohibit the casino and strip club from operating as a single establishment, which would limit the size of both, however with no need for consideration to vehicle parking or anything of that nature, a modestly sized casino and a strip club of the same nature should fit onto the lot comfortably.

Put-in-Bay Community Divided Over Blanke’s Plans

The news has been met with mixed feelings from the Put-in-Bay community. Year-long island residents are irate. Jim Watkins, who owns property on Put-in-Bay’s East Point, calls the decision “a travesty,” saying that it will make life less comfortable on the island. “We’ve been able to adapt to the hectic weekends, but this will lead to consistent high-volume traffic 7 days a week during the season,” Watkins lamented, “it’s going to make the island unlivable during the time of year it’s most pleasant to live here.”

Corey Davis, who has visited the island 2-3 times a year for the last two decades, offered an alternate perspective. “Put-in-Bay is, before all else, a tourist destination. This will be one of the most unique casinos not just in Ohio, but the country. I’m glad that we’ll have it!” Davis added that if the strip club comes to fruition, it will cement Put-in-Bay as “the best bachelor party destination in America.”

Future Uncertain For Downtown PIB Prime Real Estate

So as of today, only Mr. Blanke knows what the final outcome will be for his property on Delaware Ave. The lot’s size is, of course, finite, so a casino/sportsbook resort with a swim up pool and a strip club seems unlikely. But what 2-3 of those 5 things will end up re-shaping downtown PIB in 2025? Based on the pursuit of the license, and the origins of Mr. Blanke’s riches, it seems more likely than not that Put-in-Bay is the soon-to-be home of a casino with a sportsbook, as well as a new strip club.

Whatever the final result, this is sure to be the next, not the last, chapter in a less than harmonious relationship between John Blanke and the Village of Put-in-Bay. And after some highly-publicized scrutiny directed at Mr. Blanke by the Village of Put-in-Bay during the season of COVID, it seems this time, the upper hand is a royal flush, and it’s held by Blanke.