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March marks a record month for Ohio's gambling industry as both casinos, racinos hit new highs

Number of problem gamblers in Ohio doubled after casinos opened, survey finds
Posted at 6:55 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 00:29:02-04

CLEVELAND — Whether it was cabin fever a year into a pandemic or the result of stimulus checks hitting bank accounts, March shattered records for both the state's four casinos and seven racinos with them bringing in combined more than $215 million in revenue after all bets were paid.

The state's four casinos combined to take in more than $91.6 million, a $7.3 million or 8.7% jump over the previous record in March of 2013 - which was when they had a monopoly before any of the state's seven racinos opened.

Speaking of the slots-only horse tracks, they combined to take in more than $124.2 million, a more than 20% jump over their previous record set in March of 2019, and consider this, they did it with 10% fewer terminals, shut down for social distancing.

"What we're seeing in there is a lot of pent-up demand for people who really want to get out there and enjoy entertainment options like gaming can provide,” said Casey Clark, Sr. V.P. with the American Gaming Association.

That pent-up demand was evident in June of 2012, the now Jack Casino Cleveland's first full month of operation when they took in a record of $24.5 million after all bets were paid. That record was not broken but last month now holds the number two spot with $22.2 million in revenue, sister property Jack Thistledown did shatter its old record set just last July of $14.7 million by more than $3 million and again they had 23% fewer VLTs in service than they did in March of 2019.

While April traditionally marks a drop off for gambling the American Gaming Association says maybe not.

"With more vaccinations being available to people and maybe some of the easings of the restrictions that we're seeing in terms of capacity those numbers should continue to go up."

In Ohio, racino revenue through the Ohio Lottery benefits education while casino revenue is taxed at 33% with that money going to cities, counties, and the state. So that $91.6 million in revenue last month meant an additional $30.2 million in taxes that wasn’t there in March of 2020.