Ohio Casinos Make Strong Return, Still Numbers Miss the Mark

Casinos and racinos in Ohio have restarted operations after a three-month hiatus. The industry is off to a strong start in June although results are still only half of last year’s results.

Ohio’s Gambling Industry Makes a Strong Start in June

Ohio’s casino and horse racing industry has taken a solid tumble in its results so far, registering close to $500 million in gambling revenue losses year-over-year. While casinos and race tracks returned in force, despite some limitations in venues capacity, and the available games to participate in, the state seems confident that the industry will be chugging along just fine, notwithstanding the aforementioned dips in demand.

With $500 million missing from the industry’s books, the state has lost estimated $160 million in taxes and fees, though. Much of that amount serves to support public funding projects, such as local governments and schools.

After casinos and race tracks were closed on March 14, and then reopened on June 19, the industry basically came to a halt, as Ohio doesn’t have or regulate online wagering. Other businesses were also suspended, adding to the gloom of the coronavirus pandemic.

In total, the first half year saw Ohio’s gambling firms generate just $487.5 million or less than half the previous year’s $970.9 million collected over the same period. While the closings shuttered businesses quickly, the beginning of 2020 was a strong one for the casino industry.

Results Still Only Half of 2019’s Figures

June’s results are now reassuring but they are just half of what the state wants to see. In June, Ohio generated $76.7 million, which is again less than half of 2019’s $161.4 million. Overall, revenue in the four state casinos fell to $34 million, down 52%, data from the Ohio Casino Control Commission revealed.

Some properties suffered even worse, including the MGM Northfield Park which lost 59% of revenue ($8.5 million), JACK Cleveland Casino, down 62% ($6.6 million), and JACK Thistledown Racino, down 53% ($6.7 million).  

Maryland’s Casinos Do Their Best, Results Improving

Another state where recovery has started is Maryland. The state’s six casinos generated only $35 million, contributing $14 million to the state’s coffers since they restarted. Yet, the results pale in comparison with 2019’s, when the operators posted $143 million in revenue and forwarded $60 million to the state.

The state’s properties have reopened at mostly 50% capacity so far, with one of the main challenges remaining the lack of enough demand and growing uncertainty about the novel coronavirus.

According to Gordon Medenica, head of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, the state is expecting to see $190 million less in overall revenue before 2020 is out. Maryland is also looking at a sports betting referendum, and Medenica hopes that gambling revenue in the state will be bolstered with the return of sports by the end of the year.

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