Ohio Casinos Set Revenue Records as Unseasonably Warm March Brings Gamblers Out of Hibernation

Posted on: April 10, 2018, 04:05h. 

Last updated on: April 10, 2018, 04:09h.

Ohio’s four land-based casinos collectively won more than $81.7 million in March, the highest gross gaming revenue (GGR) in state history. Additionally, the state’s six racetrack venues generated GGR totaling $96.4 million, also a new bar.

Ohio casinos racino Hard Rock
Ohio casinos posted record wins in March, but the Hard Rock Rocksino led the way. (Image: Hard Rock Rocksino)

Ohio separates its four commercial brick-and-mortar casinos from its seven “racinos” in reporting revenue. The state’s Casino Control Commission tallies GGR at the casinos found in the cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo, while the Ohio Lottery Commission details the racetrack venues.

Land-based casinos in Ohio are permitted to house table games, while racinos are allowed to offer only slots. Both categories have their GGR taxed at a flat 33 percent rate.

The casinos and racinos benefited from an extra weekend day last month, as there were 14 Friday, Saturday, or Sundays in 2018, but only 13 in 2017. The venues were also aided by marginally higher hold percentages on both table games and slot machines.

Ohio casinos enjoyed an unusually warm (albeit rainy) March. In Columbus, daily highs were above freezing on all 31 days, and 11 days saw temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is considered practically summer in the Midwest.

Rocking and Rolling

The March win for Ohio’s casinos represents an 8.3 percent increase compared to the same month in 2017.

Hollywood Columbus led the way, with GGR totaling $22.3 million, which is almost nine percent higher than its March 2017 performance. Jack Cleveland was second with $20.1 million (+12.2 percent), Hollywood Toledo third at $19.7 million (+7.6 percent), and Jack Cincinnati in fourth at $19.4 million (+14.7 percent).

Hollywood Columbus has the most slot machines of the four with 2,237 terminals. Jack Cleveland has the most tables with 126.

Ohio’s seven racinos are the Hollywood locations at Dayton Raceway and Mahoning Valley Race Course, Belterra Park, Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield, Jack Thistledown in North Randall, Miami Valley in Turtlecreek, and Scioto Downs in Columbus.

Their combined March 2018 $96.4 million win represents a 10.1 percent increase on 2017.

Hard Rock was the top gross gaming revenue generator, with a $23.3 million win. That’s the racino’s highest monthly performance in its nearly five-year history.

Profitable Buy

The Northfield so-called “rocksino” posting its best-ever monthly mark is good news for MGM Growth Properties (MGP), the real estate investment trust (REIT) of MGM Resorts.

Last week, MGP announced it was acquiring the Hard Rock Rocksino from Milstein Entertainment for $1.06 billion. MGM Growth Properties says it will lease the resort’s operations to Hard Rock International, which it expects to generate between $50 million and $60 million in annual rent.

MGP is a growth-oriented public REIT that raised approximately $1.1 billion through its initial public offering in April 2016. The company owns the real estate of seven MGM casino resorts in Las Vegas, as well as several other locations across the country, including the Borgata in Atlantic City, MGM National Harbor outside Washington, DC, and the upcoming MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.