Ohio’s Casinos Are on the Rebound Following a Record Month in March

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While there is still a long way to go before enjoying pre-COVID-19 pandemic revenues, Ohio’s casinos and racinos are getting there. Last month was a good month for the state’s four casinos and seven racinos, which reported combined gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $215.8 million. Since legal gambling was first introduced in the Buckeye State, this was the best performance ever recorded.

Ohio Gamblers Anxious For Action

Ohio’s gamblers historically stand ready for March to roll around so they can hit the state’s gambling properties. March marks the end of the winter when residents are more reluctant to head out into the cold and generally unpleasant weather. Add to this the COVID-19 debacle that has forced social distancing and restrictions on commercial activity, and Ohio’s gambling properties were able to enjoy a hotter month. 

News 5 Cleveland points out that the four casinos took over $91.6 million last month, 8.7% more than the previous record set in March 2013. The racinos, which weren’t open when that record was set, broke $124.2 million last month, breaking the March 2019 record by 20%. That was accomplished as the properties continue to operate under COVID-19 restrictions that forced 10% of their gaming terminals to temporarily shut off.

April Could Bring More Gains

Previous gaming patterns for Ohio show that this month doesn’t always produce great numbers, but the American Gaming Association (AGA) feels that the trend might stop this year. As Ohioans look to break out of the coronavirus cocoon, they are more likely to continue to hit the slot machines and gaming tables this month, and the AGA believes that GGR will continue to increase, not fall. AGA Senior VP Casey Clark asserts, “What we’re seeing in there is a lot of pent-up demand for people who want to get out there and enjoy entertainment options like gaming can provide.”

If that happens, another record month might be coming to the state. This is good news for the operators and the state, but gamblers are a little rusty after so much time off. They spent $1.3 billion at the racinos’ gaming machines, of which around $15.6 million came from promotional credits. At Ohio’s casinos, $68 million was spent on the slot machines, and $23.6 million was spent at the gaming tables.  

The continued increase could be seen in the gaming markets in other states, as well. Maryland’s casinos reported a record in March already, with a GGR of $169.1 million, and upticks could be seen throughout the year. AGA President Bill Miller predicted earlier this year that the second half of 2021 could be a banner year for US casinos, adding that “people will be excited to travel, hungry for entertainment, and desperate to get out and have fun again.”

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