CLEVELAND, Ohio - Ohio’s casino and racino industry got off to a solid start in its return to business in mid-June, but three months of closings tied to the coronavirus has left the industry nearly $500 million in gambling revenue behind where it was at the same point last year, reports released Tuesday showed.
This translates to a loss of about $160 million in fees and taxes the facilities pay the state, much of which is forwarded to local governments and schools.
The 11 casinos and racinos were closed from March 14 through June 18 under the governor’s order to restrict mass gatherings.
Gambling revenue for the first half of the year - money kept by the house after paying out winnings - totaled $487.5 million, just half of the $970.9 million collected during the first six months of 2019. About a third of this money is turned over to the state in fees and taxes.
The industry had been off to a record start to the year before the closings.
The reports for June, however, show signs that business has been returning.
Despite just getting restarted after the mid-point of the month, revenue of $76.7 million was just under half of what it was ($161.4 million) for the entire month of June a year ago.
Revenue at the four casinos was down 52% to $34 million for the month, the Ohio Casino Control Commission reported. Revenue for the seven racinos fell 53% to $42.6 million, according to the Ohio Lottery Commission.
In the Cleveland-Akron market, however, the drop was bigger for the two largest operations - JACK Cleveland Casino and MGM Northfield Park:
* MGM Northfield Park had $8.5 million in revenue for the partial month of June, down 59% from $20.8 million for the full month in 2019.
* JACK Cleveland Casino had $6.6 million in June, down 62% from $17.6 million a year ago.
* JACK Thistledown Racino had $6.7 million June revenue, down 53% from $11.9 million.
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