Ohio Casinos Face Revenue Shortage Amid Coronavirus Closures
Ohio casinos and racinos had been on an upward revenue curve in 2019 and the start of 2020. That came to a halt in March as coronavirus-related facility closures saw total revenues fall 58% from February. Casinos and racinos have been shut down by state order since March 13.
All told, the revenue from those first 13 days of March was a combined $71,902,867. In February, the combined revenue from Ohio’s seven racinos and four casinos was $171,423,785, a state record. That February total broke the record set in January as Ohio gaming revenue continued to rise at the time.
That hot start to 2020 continued a trend that had been ongoing for a couple of years for Ohio casinos and racinos. In the 2018-19 fiscal year, from July 2018 to June 2019, revenue from those facilities passed $1 billion for the first time.
Ohio Video Lottery Terminal Revenue
The net win for Ohio’s video lottery terminals was $40.974 million for March, down more than half of February’s $95.534 million, according to the Ohio Lottery. Ohio’s seven racinos with VLTs are Belterra Park in Cincinnati, Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs in Columbus, MGM in Northfield, Hollywood Gaming in Dayton, Hollywood Mahoning Valley in Youngstown, JACK Thistledown in Cleveland and Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon. Plans have been underway for the Miami Valley facility to add a new racetrack and casino.
For the 13 days in March they were operating, Ohio’s racinos averaged $272 win per VLT per day, on par with the figures from February ($284) and January ($263). The year-over-year picture presents an even starker contrast. In March 2019 revenue from the state’s VLTs hit a record $103.1 million, the only month since VLTs began operating in the 2012-13 fiscal year that revenue surpassed $100 million for a month in Ohio.
Impact of Coronavirus on Ohio Casinos
The casinos in the state — JACK Cleveland, Hollywood Columbus, JACK Cincinnati and Hollywood Toledo — has a combined revenue of $30.928 million in March, down 59.2% from February’s $75.89 million, according to numbers posted by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
Gov. Mike DeWine ordered all casinos and racinos, among many other businesses, to be closed on March 13 in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus. As of Thursday afternoon there were 5,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ohio and 213 deaths from the illness, according to the Ohio Department of Health’s website.
Jim Tomlin has more than 30 years of experience in sports journalism as an editor and writer. He has covered pro and college sports from football, baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, motorsports and more for publications such as the Tampa Bay Times, SaturdayDownSouth.com, SaturdayTradition.com and FanRag Sports. He now lends his expertise to TopUSCasinos.com, among other duties.