Feb 18, 2022 - News

Ohio casinos hit the jackpot with record wagering

Data: Ohio Casino Control Commission and Ohio Lottery Commission; Chart: Danielle Alberti and Baidi Wang/Axios

Ohioans felt especially risky last year, and they're not alone.

Driving the news: Ohio's four casinos and seven racinos set another new record for revenue in 2021 by bringing in a combined $2.3 billion, according to Ohio's Casino Control and Lottery commissions data.

Why it matters: More gambling revenue means more tax proceeds funneled toward local governments, public education, law enforcement training and problem gambling services.

The big picture: Gambling revenue shot up across the U.S. last year amid a rapid expansion of legal casinos and sports betting, Axios' Mike Allen writes.

  • Ohio was among 23 states that set new records for gambling revenue.

Zoom in: Hollywood Columbus also set a new record of $260 million in revenue last year — more than the other major casinos in Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati.

  • Strictly for comparison's sake, that's a full $110 million more than George Clooney and company stole from Las Vegas casinos in the "Ocean's Eleven" heist.

Meanwhile, nearby Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs racino came close to Hollywood's total with $230 million in 2021 revenue.

  • This figure (and the statewide racino total) does not include revenue associated with horse race wagering, which is separately overseen by a state racing commission.

What Ohioans played: The vast majority of state gambling revenue comes from slot machines, including nearly 90% at Hollywood Columbus.

  • Hollywood boasts 2,106 slot machines, compared to just 90 "pit area" games like craps, blackjack and roulette.

Yes, but: That will change starting next year when Ohioans can begin wagering on sporting events.

  • Casinos are expected to secure licenses to offer in-person betting as well as through online apps.
  • Ohio's sports betting operators will be taxed at 10%, with nearly all proceeds going towards educational purposes.

💭 Tyler's thought bubble: As a longtime regular in the Hollywood poker room, I've definitely noticed the casino is busier now than when it first opened in 2012.

  • The Saturday of Super Bowl weekend featured a line out the door waiting to get in, which I've never seen before.
  • It's going to be a zoo when the sports betting kiosks finally open in 2023.
Data: Ohio Casino Control Commission and Ohio Lottery Commission; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

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