When Ohio voters approved four casinos for the state’s four largest cities, they were promised higher revenues than have turned out to be the case now that three casinos have opened. The fourth and last casino, the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, will open this month.
State officials previously estimated that the four casinos would take in $1.9 billion once all were operating. Figures for the four casinos show that they will likely take in about half that amount, and cut taxes paid to the state by roughly half as well.
Governor John Kasich’s biennial budget assumes $957.7 million in gross revenue for the casinos. The state takes a third of the gross revenue in taxes, which it distributes to local government and schools.
The state officials who created the estimates in 2009 included higher revenues because a larger casino was expected to be built in Cleveland than actually materialized. At the time, officials also predicted that the revenues would be less if the state allowed Ohio’s seven racetracks to add slot machines to become racinos—something that it has done.
All three of the casinos that have opened have experienced less than expected revenues, grossing about $350 million for 2012, with the lion’s share coming from Cleveland.