CLEVELAND – If there’s one industry in Ohio that has picked up this year as quickly as it closed last time, it’s gambling. The revenue record for the state’s four casinos has been set in March 2013 before the competition of the seven racinos of the state. The $ 84.3 million mark lasted for eight years until it was surpassed almost 9% in March of this year to $ 91.6 million after all bets were paid. Then in April, they surpassed it again, $ 92.5 million.
While the statewide figure of $ 86.8 million did not break those records, revenue was still up 18.1% from May 2019. Jack Properties saw the biggest leaps with the downtown casino up 25 percent from May 2019 and Jack Thistledown up a whopping 50 percent more than two years ago.
“I think there are a lot of factors, including people who have a lot of pent-up energy to want to come back into the public after being confined to their homes during COVID,” said Casey Clark, senior vice president of the ‘American Gaming Association. “And maybe even sustainable income that they saved throughout their pandemic.”
There’s no doubt that stimulus funds and extended unemployment benefits have played into the numbers, but even with that expiration, the American Gaming Association predicts the numbers will stay strong going into the summer.
“As capacity restrictions are lifted, as they have been recently in Ohio and elsewhere, more and more people will continue to look for opportunities to do things, and I think the games casinos are one of them, ”said Clark.
The state’s seven slots were up 27.5% from May 2019. In addition to Thistledown’s 50.7% jump of $ 19 million, MGM Northfield posted a 14.4% jump with $ 25 million in revenue, all with fewer social distancing machines than they had in 2019.
The increase in gambling spending comes as the state Senate continues to hold hearings on sports betting, with more scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Lawmakers are only 23 days from the end of the month they’ve targeted for the passage, promising supporters they will.
“I promise you that if this isn’t done by June 30, you can walk into my office and yell at me,” State Senator Niraj Antani (R-Montgomery), co-sponsor of the law Project.
Sports betting will be taxed at 10%, this money will go to education. Racino revenue is already going to education through the Ohio Lottery, while casino revenue is taxed at a rate of 33%, with that money going to help cities and counties across the state.
So the $ 86.8 million casinos made in May means $ 28.6 million in additional revenue that was not there last year.