Ohio’s casinos and racinos reopened June 19 after being closed for about three months. In the short time since they have been back in operation, there has been good news and bad news for the Buckeye State in terms of revenues from the 11 facilities.
The state’s gaming revenue decline during the coronavirus pandemic will be irreversible even as the daily averages for the partial month of June show some encouraging economic signs.
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In the 12 days that they were open in June, Ohio’s statewide casino revenue was $34,035,112, well off the pace of the last full month that the were open ($75,889,694 in February), according to figures from the Ohio Casino Control Commission. However, that June figure was higher than the 12 days in March when they were open ($30,928,846) and as a daily average, June was very comparable. The state’s four casinos combined to average $2.836 million in revenue a day, higher than the $2.616 million a day in February and the average of $2.343 million in June 2019.
Ohio’s seven racinos had a combined handle of $435,629,571 at its Video Lottery Terminals in June and a net win of $42,638,831. That handle (or credits played) was a bit lower than the 13-day figure for March ($448,715,846) but the net win was a bit higher than March’s $40,974,021 total, figures from the Ohio Lottery show. The win per VLT per day was $314 in June, a high for the year, but not quite all machines were operating yet. The handle per day was $36.3 million in June, compared to $34.5 million per day in March and a daily average of $35.8 million in February, the last full month before the COVID-19 pandemic.
But of course, after being closed for three months because of the coronavirus, Ohio casinos and racinos will never come close to the revenues they made in the past few years.
The state set record VLT revenues in the 2018-19 fiscal year, surpassing $1 billion for the first time. The seven racinos alone generated more than $300 million in tax revenue for Ohio’s general education fund in the 2018-19 fiscal year.
The June reports for Ohio racinos and casinos concluded the 2019-20 fiscal year. Overall racino handle dipped from $11,587,956,217 in the 2018-19 fiscal year to $9,032,261,560. As of February, that handle was on pace to set another record for the 2019-20 fiscal year but coronavirus-related closures halted that. Net win dropped from $1,058,638,754 to $820,923,109.
It was the same story at the Buckeye State’s casinos. The four facilities — Jack Cleveland Casino, Hollywood Columbus Casino, Hard Rock Cincinnati Casino and Hollywood Toledo Casino — combined for $850,984,462 in 2019, an average of per month. So far in 2020, that figure is $213,999,048 total halfway through the year.
Through two months, 2020 handle was on a record pace, at about $149 million compared to about $132.5 million through February 2019. That’s about 12.5% higher. But even if the second half of 2020 is up by the same percentage compared to the average handle in July through December of 2019 — for a projected second-half revenue total of about $476 million — that would still leave Ohio about $133 million short for the year.