Are Ohio casinos on the way back?
After a 2020 dominated by pandemic-related closures and associated revenue declines, all but one of the Buckeye State’s 11 gaming establishments saw modest month-over-month revenue increases in January of 2021.
The state’s total gaming revenue in January was $153.331 million — $88.495 million of that coming from seven racinos with video lottery terminals, and $64.866 million coming from four retail casinos. That number was up from the $115.338 million totaled in December but down from the January 2020 record of $167 million that the 11 facilities collected.
Only one Ohio gaming facility saw a monthly drop in revenue — the Hollywood Toledo Casino, which collected $18.011 million in January of 2021 compared to $20.495 million in December of 2020. That decrease is likely related to the late December reopening of Detroit casinos across the state line in Michigan. Hollywood Toledo still posted the largest revenue number of any casino in Ohio.
Hollywood Columbus reported revenue of $17.957 million in January, its largest number since October 2020, according to figures from the Ohio Casino Control Commission. JACK Cleveland reported January revenue of $16.525 million, also its best total since last October. Hard Rock Cincinnati reported revenue of $12.371 million in January, its highest total since November.
January was also a better month for the state’s seven racinos — horse racing tracks with video lottery terminals — whose collective $88.458 million in revenue was an increase from the $72.711 million reported in December 2020. MGM Northfield Park led the way with $17.9 million in January revenue, up from $14.1 million the month before, the Ohio Lottery reported.
Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs in Columbus posted $15.4 million in January revenue, up from $12.7 million in December. Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon collected $13.7 million in January revenue, up from $11.9 million the month before. JACK Thistledown in Cleveland reported $13.3 million in January revenue as opposed to $10.5 million in December.
Hollywood Mahoning Valley in Youngstown improved to $10.7 million in January from $8.3 million in December and Hollywood Dayton jumped to $10.6 million from $8.3 million. Belterra Park in Cincinnati increased to $6.6 million from $5.6 million over that same span.
For Ohio’s four casinos, the improved January numbers were a needed boost after a 2020 that saw them combine for a $207 million drop in total revenue compared to 2019. Casino revenue in the Buckeye State comes from slots and table games, which were idled as retail gaming facilities in Ohio and across the nation shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Casinos in Ohio remained closed throughout April and May. When they reopened on June 19, they did so under protocols that limited capacity to 50 percent, reduced operating hours and reconfigured gaming floors to enhance social distancing. Those measures reduced the number of available gaming tables in the four casinos from 69 to 50, and the number of slots from nearly 2,000 to around 1,200, according to the state casino control commission.