hio’s casinos and racinos won nearly $1.9 billion from gamblers last year, marking a record for the industry that launched in the state with the opening of the Cleveland casino in 2012.
Gambling revenue - the amount of money kept by the facilities after paying out winnings - rose 7.2 percent at the state’s seven racinos to just over $1 billion in 2018, and increased 2.3 percent at the four casinos to $837 million.
The casinos have both table games and slots under regulation of the Ohio Casino Control Commission. The racinos, regulated by the Ohio Lottery Commission, are permitted to offer only slot machines. Unlike several other states, there is no legal gambling in Ohio on pro and college sports.
Racino and casino revenue statewide totaled $1.86 billion, up 4.9 percent from the previous record of $1.78 billion in 2017. About one-third of the gambling revenue is turned over to the state in taxes or fees.
There is no public accounting of total revenue, including drinks, food and entertainment, at the facilities.
The busiest operation in the state based on gambling revenue was again the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, which will take on a new name this year after being purchased by MGM Properties. Gambling revenue at the Rocksino rose 6.9 percent last year to $256 million. This does not include wagering on horse races.
The largest gain was posted by the JACK Thistledown Racino in North Randall, just up the road from the Rocksino. Revenue increased 10.4 percent at Thistledown to $127 million.
Thistledown is one of three gambling properties held by Dan Gilbert’s JACK Entertainment business, all of which may be on the selling block. The company last year agreed to sell its Greektown casino in Detroit.
JACK’s casinos posted gains of 1.7 percent in Cleveland to $205 million and 2.8 percent in Cincinnati to $203 million.
Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood casinos gained 2 percent to $203 million in Toledo and 2.5 percent to $226 million in Columbus.
Cleveland is the clear leader for table games. Table games totaled $100 million in Cleveland, $72 million in Cincinnati, $57 million in Columbus and $33 million in Toledo.
Increases were posted last year for 10 of the 11 gambling operations statewide. The exception was Belterra Park in Cincinnati, where revenue fell 1.6 percent to $81 million.