Across the US, casino markets are coming back to life after a brutal attack by COVID-19. Occupancy levels in many areas are returning to normal and, even in those that still have restrictions, gross gaming revenue (GGR) is impressive. Ohio is in the latter group, a state that still requires its casinos to maintain a maximum of 50% of their maximum capacities. Despite this, GGR is performing much better than could be hoped and, according to the Ohio Casino Control Commission’s figures, is consistently reaching record levels.
April Was a Blockbuster Month for Ohio’s Gaming Market
The figures just shared by Ohio’s gaming regulators indicate that April GGR set a record in the state, the second straight month that the local gaming market saw substantial activity. In March, Ohio’s gaming properties reported a GGR total of $215.8 million, setting a record that had remained for two years. Last month, and at only 50% capacity, the casinos and racinos, of which the state has a total of 11, broke that record with a gaming win total of $217.1 million. That represents a 35.5% increase over the performance of April 2019, with April 2020 a wash because of COVID-19.
At the top of the charts for the state’s four casinos was Hollywood Columbus, which raked in $24.7 million. Jack Cleveland followed close behind at $24 million, with Hollywood Toledo coming in next with its $22.5 million in GGR. Hard Rock Cincinnati brought up the rear, reporting GGR of $22.2 million for the month. The state’s racinos, which are only authorized to offer video gaming lottery terminals, reported a combined GGR of $124.5 million, which was 39% better than two years ago.
Slots continue to be a favorite with gamblers, as the GGR slot total for the four casinos was $65.7 million. Table games didn’t even reach half that amount, providing revenue of just $26.9 million. Overall, the improved performance at all of the venues comes as curfews across the state are lifted and gamblers are ready to break free of the monotony that has kept them tied down for so long.
Legalized Sports Gambling on Ohio’s Radar
Now that things are returning to normal at Ohio’s gaming properties, it’s time to focus on new options, such as legalized sports gambling. The details of a new sports gambling bill introduced last week have been revealed and now is the perfect time to drum up support for the legislation.
The state’s existing gaming properties would automatically have access to sports gambling licenses, should they meet the state’s criteria, with 20 additional licenses to be made available to other entities. Ohio lawmakers have a chance to approve the sports gambling bill before the current legislative session expires. Lawmakers in other states may believe that having several months isn’t enough to convert a bill into law, but the Buckeye State might prove them wrong. The Ohio Senate will wrap up its session on June 29, which gives lawmakers a little more than six weeks to make progress.