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Ohio Casinos, Racinos Could Compete For Gambling Dollars


Ohio casino revenue numbers are out for the month of May, and month-to-month revenues are up for the state’s four casinos. But with a new racino on the way, there’s growing competition for those gambling dollars in southwest Ohio.

Last year a Miami Valley Gaming racino—which is a combination horse race track and gambling venue—opened between Cincinnati and Dayton. Now another one is under construction in north Dayton. That’s on top of four other racinos and the state's four casinos.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino saw revenues fall more than 2 million dollars compared to May of 2013. Cleveland’s revenues were also down in the latest casino report, but that was balanced by increases at the Hollywood Columbus and Hollywood Toledo centers.

Bob Tenenbaum with Penn National’s Hollywood Gaming, the company that’s opening the north Dayton racino, says it’s just too soon to say what the numbers mean. Ohio has only had legal gambling for two years.

“Even though it may seem like a long time to people, the gaming market in Ohio is, in the overall scale of things, very young,” says Tenenbaum.

Local governments have their eyes on casino profits because they’re split up between the companies, county and city governments and schools based on state law. But most racino profits won’t go to local governments; instead, Ohio schools get a cut of those dollars, which go through the Ohio Lottery, as opposed to the casino commission. Dayton’s racino could open as soon as fall 2014, and they are hiring for approximately 500 positions.

The Dayton Daily News reports Warren County has just decided on a plan to divvy up tax dollars from the Miami Valley Gaming development. Part of the development plan for the new racino included a cut for redevelopment in the area of the county fairgrounds.

Lewis Wallace is WYSO's economics reporter and substitute morning host. Follow him @lewispants.

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