Ohio’s casino and racino market generated $150 million in October, marking a 3.6 percent revenue boost versus the same month a year ago. Doing most of the lifting, however, was the state’s seven slot-only gaming venues which saw their revenues jump 6.7 percent to $83.4 million in October. Revenues at Ohio’s four casinos, on the other, hand increased by just 0.15 percent to $66.6 million, according to reports released by the Ohio Lottery and Casino Control commissions.
In October, the state’s casinos collected $66.6 million, or around $100,000 more than a year earlier. Overall, the casinos noted a 5.7 percent drop in table game revenue to $21.4 million compared to the $22.7 million taken in October 2017. Meanwhile, slot revenue came in at $45.1 million, or up by 3 percent year-on-year.
Leading the way in terms of revenue was Hollywood Columbus on $18.1 million, followed by Hollywood Toledo and JACK Cincinnati Casino on $16.3 million a piece. The JACK Cleveland Casino, however, was the state’s lowest earning casino at $16 million, as well as the only one to see its year-on-year revenues slide.
The Buckeye State’s racinos all saw their year-on-year revenues increase, except Belterra Park whose business was unchanged from last October. Way out in front as the market leader was the Hard Rock Rocksino on an impressive $20.9 million, while a distant second was Scioto Downs on $13.9 million, and Miami Valley Gaming on $13.1 million.
Bringing up the next tier of racinos is JACK Thistledown Racino ($10.4m), Hollywood Mahoning Valley ($9.8m), Hollywood Dayton ($8.7m), and finally Belterra Park ($8.7m), which was also the state’s only racino to see its year-on-year revenues stay flat.
Combined with the state’s racinos, Ohio’s gaming market generated a total of $1.78 billion in 2017, up by 5% from the previous year, resulting in $594 million in tax revenues for the state. The growth was mostly attributable to the racino sector, though, which has consistently been gaining traction over the past few years.
By contrast, the casino market generated $821 million in 2013, during its first full year with 4 casinos. Since then, business has been yo-yoing consistently, having fallen to $809 million in 2014, risen to $812 million in 2015, fallen to $798 million in 2016, before increasing by 2.6 percent to $819 million last year.
State legislators have naturally been exploring ways in which to steady the boat and introduce new gambling revenue streams. An opening subsequently presented itself after the Supreme Court struck down PASPA this summer, and ruled that individual states had the right to legalize sports betting within their borders, if they so choose.
Over the past few months, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, and New Mexico have joined Nevada in offering the full range of legalized sports betting products. Many more are also waiting in the wind positioning and themselves to become part of the lucrative industry, including the likes of Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, and Arkansas.
According to some estimates, legalized sports betting could produce around $1 billion in its first year of operation, resulting in around $13.4 million for state coffers. Against this backdrop, some Ohio legislators have stated an intent to legalize sports wagering at some stage in the future, and Senate Bill 316 has already been introduced as a place-holder. It will not hit the Senate floor for a vote this year, though.
Meanwhile, other lawmakers remain skeptical of regulated sports betting. One of them is Senate President Larry Obhof, who has dismissed the revenue forecast as being “probably exaggerated”. Furthermore, he believes that the Ohio Constitution would probably need to be amended first before sports betting would be permitted, stating:
“I think there is a pretty serious legal question of — irrespective of the federal court decision this year – whether or not we could even have sports gaming here, if that’s something the legislature could even authorize, even if they wanted to.”