COVID-19 Costs Ohio Gaming Industry $500M in Revenue, $175M in State Taxes

Posted on: January 8, 2021, 09:08h. 

Last updated on: January 8, 2021, 11:05h.

Ohio casinos and racetrack racinos saw their collective gross gaming revenue (GGR) decline $500 million last year.

Ohio casinos racinos revenue
Ohio casinos, including JACK Casino, seen here in Cleveland, and state racinos, reported reduced gaming income last year. But aside from their state-ordered shutdowns, 2020 was actually a good year in terms of business. (Image: JACK Cleveland)

COVID-19 led to a complete shutdown of the gaming floors from mid-March through late June on Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s (R) orders. Since reopening, the venues have been required to adhere to strict regulations, including reduced capacity.

Ohio’s seven racinos, which only offer video gaming terminals, reported GGR of approximately $796.6 million. The four casinos said GGR from their slot machines and table games totaled $643.4 million.

The combined hail — $1.44 billion — represents a 26 percent decline from 2019 when the 11 properties won a record $1.94 billion.

Ohio’s seven racinos are Belterra Park, Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs, MGM Northfield, Hollywood Gaming Dayton, Hollywood Mahoning Valley, JACK Thistledown Racino, and Miami Valley Gaming. The casinos include JACK Cleveland, Hollywood Columbus, Hard Rock Cincinnati, and Hollywood Toledo.

The reduction in GGR left a dent in state coffers. The effective tax rate on casinos and racinos is 33 percent. The drop in gaming wins reduced tax generation by around $175 million.

Now the Good News

Despite Ohio’s gaming industry experiencing a gaming revenue decline of 26 percent in 2020, the overall health of the casinos and racinos is strong.

When the properties were not forced to close and were able to operate fully 24/7, they reported record GGR. All-time best marks were set in January, February, July, August, September, and October. Casinos won $86 million in July, their best month ever.

Ohio’s gaming rally ended in November after DeWine announced reduced operating hours for casinos and racinos amid a substantial rise in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Since Nov. 19, gaming operations across the Buckeye State must cease at 10 pm nightly. They are permitted to resume at 5 am.

But with the coronavirus vaccine being distributed, there’s plenty of reason for optimism surrounding Ohio’s gaming industry. In 2019, Ohio ranked No. 8 in terms of commercial casino revenue in the US.

Sports Betting Latest

Ohio is a sports-obsessed state. But unlike many of its neighbors, it hasn’t legalized sports betting. Efforts have repeatedly failed since the federal ban was lifted more than two years ago.

Lawmakers say they’ll revisit the issue this year in the Columbus capital.

We know the number of states that are legalizing sports betting just continues to increase, and so we want to make sure that if folks in Ohio want to play, they can do it here,” explained state Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-District 31).

Would-be Ohio oddsmakers are missing out on the Cleveland Browns making the NFL Playoffs for the first time in 18 years. Previously the owners of the longest playoff drought, the Browns head just 100 miles southeast to play their longtime divisional foe Pittsburgh Steelers in the upcoming AFC Wild Card game. The Steelers are favored by six points.