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Ohio Casinos Generate Record Revenue During Pandemic

Continues Budding Trend Of Local Markets Rebounding Quicker Than Larger Tourist Destinations

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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio casinos generated record revenue.

According to numbers released by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the state’s four casinos totaled $86 million in gross gaming revenue. It is the highest-grossing GGR since all four casinos opened for business in 2013.

The previous all-time-high was in March 2013, the same month that the state’s most recent casino in Cincinnati was opened, when casinos won $84.3 million from gamblers. The state also has seven racinos that were not included in these figures.

Ohio’s gaming market returned in mid-June after Gov. Mike DeWine ordered casinos and racinos to close in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. July was the first full month that casinos were open for business.

Hollywood Toledo dragged in the lion’s share of the revenue, reporting a win of $33.3 million. It’s the most money won by an Ohio casino in a single month in the history of the state’s gaming market.

Jessica Franks, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Casino Control Commission, told the Hamilton Journal-News that she believed Toledo’s numbers were slightly inflated by the likely influx of Detroit gamblers, who up until last week had their home casinos closed.

Regardless of the reasons why, the successful month by Ohio gaming operators could be a microcosm of a budding trend. In a post-coronavirus gambling world, markets that are less reliant on tourism and more reliant on local gamblers will be better off.

Last week, three casinos in Maryland announced an increase in revenue, and the state’s entire GGR was only down 6.3 percent year-over-year. Iowa’s gaming regulators also reported just a four percent drop in July, while operating at reduced capacities.

This is compared with much larger markets like Las Vegas and Macau, which have consistently reported large year-over-year losses since reopening. Macau reported its fourth straight month with a greater than 90 percent revenue drop in August, while the Las Vegas Strip posted a 61 percent decline in June, the most recent month with data.

Despite opening its casinos June 4 with the rest of Nevada, Las Vegas tourism is down more than 70 percent year-over-year, according to numbers compiled by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Research Center. Macau saw similar drops in tourism due to travel restrictions imposed by the government.

New Jersey will release its first revenue report since Gov. Phil Murphy allowed the reopening of the nine Atlantic City casinos in early July later this week.