Ohio state lottery officials say annual gambling revenue from slot machines at Ohio’s seven racinos has topped $1 billion for the first time

in Lottery

The amount is an important record for the state, officials said. “Ongoing growth shows the popularity of gaming entertainment in Ohio,” lottery spokeswoman Marie Kilbane Seckers said,


COLUMBUS — State lottery officials say annual gambling revenue from slot machines at Ohio’s seven racinos has topped $1 billion for the first time.

Leading the way is MGM Northfield Park in Northfield, the former Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, with $255.9 million in revenue.

Meanwhile, Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Valley Race Course in Austintown was No. 5 with $123.8 million in revenue. Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway in Dayton was No. 6, posting revenue of $110.6 million. Both racinos are owned by Penn National Gaming Inc. of Wyomissing, Pa.

Rounding out the seven are No. 2 Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs, Columbus, $178.2 million; Miami Valley Gaming, Lebanon, $171.5 million, at No. 3; JACK Thistledown Racino, Cleveland, at No. 4 with $133.6 million; and Belterra Park Gaming, Cincinnati, at No. 7 with $84.6 million.

The Ohio Lottery Commission recently reported revenue from the video lottery terminals at racinos for fiscal year 2019, which ended in June, reached $1,058,638,754.

Statewide revenue from racinos, or horse tracks outfitted with video slot machines, has grown steadily since the first racino launched in 2012.

Revenue from video lottery terminals at racinos topped more than $987 million statewide in fiscal year 2018; more than $926 million in fiscal year 2017; more than $868 million in fiscal year 2016; and more than $772 million in fiscal year 2015.

The fiscal year runs from July to June.

In Austintown last month, wagering was down 3.7 percent from May, from $116.3 million to $112 million. The amount of credits won and revenue were down in June from May, too — 3.9 percent for credits won, from $103 million to $99.3 million and 2.2 percent for revenue, from $11.2 million to a little more than $11 million.

June’s numbers were better than June 2018, however. Wagering was up 12.6 percent from $99.4 million; credits won, up 13 percent from $87.8 million; and revenue, up 8.9 percent from $10.1 million from the previous year.

Last month, the percent payout was 90.1, down from 90.3 percent in May and the VLT win per day was $334, up from $331 in May. Both months had an average of 1,101 VLTs in play.

Of the net winnings in June, $7.2 million was paid to the Penn National; $3.6 million to the lottery commission; and $36,665 to problem gambling services.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission operates on the calendar year. It reported this week casino revenue statewide from January through June totaled more than $427 million. Revenue in June, however, was down $3.2 million, or 4.3 percent, from May, all but wiping out the 4 percent gain in revenue the casinos had in May from April.

Ohio’s four casinos — JACK Cleveland Casino, JACK Cincinnati Casino, Hollywood Casino Toledo and Hollywood Casino Columbus — are allowed to offer table games and skilled-based slots, unlike racinos.



The Ohio Lottery Commission announced the approximately $1.05 billion total this week. It represents net revenues — from the seven racinos in the state — remaining after payout of prizes to players from video lottery terminals between July 1, 2018 and the end of last month.

The amount is an important record for the state, officials said. “Ongoing growth shows the popularity of gaming entertainment in Ohio,” lottery spokeswoman Marie Kilbane Seckers told Casino.org.

It compares to the 2018 fiscal year, when gamblers bet about $10.8 billion. Operators took $987.3 million in the earlier fiscal year.

Renee Mancino, executive director at Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association, agreed in a statement to Casino.org the recent announcement “is … evidence that Ohioans have confidence in the gaming product Ohio’s racinos offer….”

She added the growth “has been steady and consistent in Ohio’s racinos and casinos versus other states…. Ohio has been … conservative and has not expanded the existing casino and racino footprint or laws — for a conservative market saturation effect.

Regardless of the success with a conservative strategy — patrons have finite discretionary money to spend in regional, non-tourist-draw markets — gaming expansion will come,” Mancino predicted.  “It will come in the form of sports wagering and table games at the racinos.”

Sports Betting Proposal in Legislature

Two of Ohio’s neighboring states — West Virginia and Pennsylvania — currently offer sports betting. Ohio is currently considering legal betting on professional and college sports.

In House Bill 194, state Rep. Dave Greenspan, R-Westlake, and Brigid Kelly, D-Cincinnati, argue to set up a Sports Gaming Advisory Board for athletic wagering. The Ohio Lottery Commission would oversee sports betting, under the legislation.

Earlier this year, the proposal was reviewed by the House Finance Committee. Officials from Ohio’s MGM Northfield Park and Penn National Gaming — which has venues in the Buckeye State — supported the proposal.

On Thursday, Greenspan told Casino.org the legislature is now in recess. But he hopes the bill will be approved by the committee in September and be enacted in 2019.

My goal is still to have the [sports betting] bill pass by the end of the year,” Greenspan added. He says it has “bipartisan support.”

As far as the record set by racinos, Greenspan cautioned about making conclusions between the racetrack revenue and the state’s interest in sports betting. “I am not sure you can draw parallels between the two,” he said.

He notes how Ohio has eight professional sports teams (not including lacrosse), as well as college teams at Ohio State and other educational institutions. So, interest in sports wagering “will be very strong,” he said.

The state’s racinos and Ohio’s four casinos could each offer sports betting under Greenspan’s bill. Fraternal and veteran organizations could also take bets.

Under the bill, the state would get 10 percent after expenses. Two percent of the state’s revenue would provide help with gambling addiction.

Alternative Bill Proposed

An alternative bill in the state Senate would give the state’s Casino Control Commission oversight over sports betting. That bill apparently did not garner as much support in the legislature as Greenspan’s proposal.

Several states unfurled sports betting last year after the US Supreme Court in May rejected a ban that had been put into place by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) in 1992.