The casinos and racinos in Ohio took in almost $1.9 billion in profit from gamblers in 2018, which is a record for the industry that started in 2012 when the first Cleveland casino opened.
Gambling revenue, which is the money a gambling facility keeps after paying out winnings to bettors, rose to just over $1 billion, an increase of 7.2 percent, at the state’s racinos. Gambling revenue at the four casinos in Ohio went up to $837 million, an increase of 2.3 percent.
Casinos in the state have both slots and table games while the racinos have only slot machines, both of which are regulated by the Ohio Lottery Commission. There is no legal sports betting in Ohio, unlike several other states, some of which are nearby, like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and West Virginia.
Across the state, combined revenue from racinos and casinos came to $1.86 billion, up 4.9 percent from the record set in 2017, which was $1.78 billion. In fact, a record has been set each and every year since legal gambling started in Ohio.
Approximately a third of the gambling revenue brought in by the operators goes to the state in fees or taxes. The total revenue does not include any revenue brought in by the sales of food or drinks at the locations.
Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield Park is the busiest operation. Gambling revenue there went up 6.9 percent to $256 million. This amount doesn’t include wagers on horse races.
Hard Rock Rocksino will get a name change this year some time since MGM Properties purchased it.
JACK Thistledown Racino posted the largest gain, up 10.4 percent to $127 million. Thistledown is owned by Dan Gilbert’s JACK Entertainment businesses. Including the two other JACK casinos, they posted total gambling revenue of $205 million in Cleveland, up 1.7 percent, and $203 million in Cincinnati, up 2.8 percent.
Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood casinos went up 2.5 percent in Columbus, to $226 million, and up two percent in Toledo, to $203 million.
As for games, Cleveland brought in the most for table games, with $100 million. Behind Cleveland was Cincinnati with $72 million, Columbus with $57 million, and Toledo with $33 million.
Ten out of the 11 gambling operations in Ohio posted increases for the year. The only gambling facility that didn’t post an increase was Belterra Park in Cincinnati. Revenue there fell to $81 million, a decrease of 1.6 percent.
It will be interesting to see how these numbers improve once Ohio legalizes sports betting. Unfortunately, it remains unclear if that will happen in 2019 or 2020.
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