March was an absolute banner month for Ohio’s gaming industry.
In their first full month since resuming full operating hours, the four casinos and seven racinos in Ohio not only combined to break state records for revenue, they set those marks by a wide margin.
Even though social distancing guidelines dictate that the casinos have a combined 324 tables ready for action — that number peaked at 413 before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the U.S. casino industry in 2020 — the casinos in Ohio drew $91,638,984 in total revenue for March. That was more than $5 million better than the record of $86.047 million that had stood since July 2020.
That $90 million barrier is even more notable because Ohio casinos had only recorded three months of better than $80 million in revenue since opening in 2012. And of course this news comes a year after measures related to the coronavirus shut down the casino industry nationwide.
Hollywood Columbus led the way with $24.8 million in revenue for March, a record for that casino, followed by Hollywood Toledo ($23.9 million), JACK Cleveland ($22.2 million) and Hard Rock Cincinnati ($20.7 million).
The Buckeye State’s racinos (slot machines at race tracks), set numbers that were perhaps even more impressive than the casinos.
The combined net win of $124,217,750 in March at Ohio’s racinos — Belterra Park in Cincinnati, Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs in Columbus, MGM Northfield, Hollywood Gaming Dayton, Hollywood Mahoning Valley in Youngstown, JACK Thistledown in Cleveland and Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon — broke the monthly record by more than $20 million. In March 2019 they had $103.1 million in revenue, which had been the only other month in history that they had surpassed $100 million.
Not only was the revenue a record but so was the credits played (or handle) of $1.3 billion, easily surpassing the $1.117 billion, also recorded in March 2019.
March’s total revenue of $215.8 million in Ohio was, of course, also a state record. It was a whopping 36% better than February’s figure of $158.7 million.
On Feb. 11, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ended what had been a months-long overnight curfew on casinos (among other businesses), Cleveland.com reported. Gaming facilities were freed up to operate around the clock again and March was the first full month when they could do so. Ohio casinos and racinos had reduced hours starting in November, a measure designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The coronavirus pandemic that shut down Ohio’s casinos 12 months ago meant a huge shortfall for state revenues.
According to the Ohio Casino Control Commission, casino revenues for the 2020 calendar year were $643.4 million, down 24.4% from the $851 million recorded in 2019. As for the racinos, which go by fiscal years (July to June) as reported by the Ohio Lottery, the 2019-20 revenue was $820.9 million, 22.5% lower than 2018-19 when it was $1.059 billion.