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Ohio Casino Revenue Drops 12% in April

Ohio's four casinos reported a 12% revenue drop in April 2024, generating nearly $83.5 million. This decrease follows a strong March and highlights the fluctuating nature of the state's gaming industry.
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: Jun 4, 2024

Ohio's Slowdown

Ohio’s four casinos generated nearly $83.5 million in taxable revenue in April, according to the latest report from the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC). This figure represents the money retained by gambling operators after paying out winnings to players but before accounting for state taxes and fees. The April revenue marks a significant drop of almost 12% from March 2024, when the casino revenues surpassed $94.7 million.

This decline is particularly noteworthy as it comes on the heels of a strong March, which had shown a robust 13.4% increase from February's revenue of $83.5 million. The casino revenue was steady in February following a notable decline in January, which saw revenues fall to $75.2 million—an 18% drop from the previous month. Thus, April represents the second time this year that Ohio’s casino revenue has seen a month-over-month decrease.

Breaking down the April revenue, $61.6 million came from slot machines, which accounted for 73.8% of the total revenue. The remaining $21.8 million, or 26.2%, was generated from table games. This distribution highlights the dominant role that slot machines play in the revenue streams of Ohio's casinos. The decline in April's revenue brings it nearly in line with February 2024, marking a 3.5% decrease from the same month in the previous year, underscoring the ongoing volatility in the market.

Monthly Revenue Comparisons:

  • January: $75,231,382 (18% down month-over-month)
  • February: $83,524,145 (13.7% increase)
  • March: $94,749,130 (13.4% increase)
  • April: $83,457,064 (12% decrease)

These figures illustrate a fluctuating revenue trend in the first four months of 2024, with significant increases in February and March followed by declines in January and April. Such fluctuations can be attributed to various factors, including seasonal variations, economic conditions, and changes in consumer behavior.

 

Individual Casino Performance

Each of Ohio's four casinos experienced a decline in revenue in April, with JACK Cleveland Casino experiencing the largest monthly drop. Hollywood Columbus, while remaining the top performer in terms of revenue, saw a 9.2% decline from March, bringing in $23,191,803. JACK Cleveland Casino's revenue fell by 14.3% to $21,000,159, making it the hardest-hit among the four. Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati reported a 10.9% drop, with revenues falling to $19,799,739, and Hollywood Toledo saw a 13.3% decrease, with revenues of $19,465,363.

Year-over-year comparisons also reveal a mixed picture. JACK Cleveland Casino and Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati reported annual revenue declines, whereas Hollywood Columbus and Hollywood Toledo saw increases. This variability highlights the competitive and often unpredictable nature of the casino industry in Ohio.

 

The Future of Online Casinos in Ohio

While Ohio's land-based casinos navigate these fluctuations, the state's stance on online casinos remains a topic of significant interest. Currently, online casinos are illegal in Ohio, though recent developments suggest that progress is being made towards legalization. Ohio’s neighboring states—Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia—have established legal and mature online casino markets, providing a potential model for Ohio to follow.

Legalizing online casinos in Ohio would require a constitutional amendment, necessitating a public vote. This process underscores the complexity and challenges involved in expanding gambling options within the state. Additionally, there is an ongoing discussion about modernizing Ohio’s racinos by introducing electronic and live table games, which are currently available only at the state’s four casinos. Such changes could provide a substantial boost to the state's gambling revenue.

Until these changes are enacted, Ohio residents seeking online casino experiences must travel to neighboring states where such activities are legal. In the meantime, Ohio offers gambling at retail locations and racinos, along with online sports betting, which has been available since January last year.

 

“Ohio’s four casinos generated nearly $83.5 million in taxable revenue in April, marking an almost 12% decrease from March 2024, when revenues surpassed $94.7 million.”

 

Conclusion

Ohio's casino revenue decline in April underscores the dynamic and fluctuating nature of the gaming industry. As stakeholders continue to navigate these changes, the discussions surrounding the legalization of online casinos remain a crucial focal point. Any potential shifts in legislation could significantly impact the state's gaming landscape, providing new opportunities for growth and revenue generation. For now, the state's casinos will need to focus on strategies to stabilize and potentially increase their revenue amidst these ongoing challenges.

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