According to a recent report by RubinBrown LLP, Ohio had the largest annual increase in gaming revenues in 2014. 23 states have commercialized gambling. Only eight increased revenues in 2014. Ohio’s $1.45 billion was a 35.5 percent increase over 2013 revenues. Three new racinos opened in 2014.
But the picture was not so rosy for the four states with commercialized gambling that border Ohio. Pennsylvania gambling revenues declined 1.4 percent while their gambling tax revenues declined 2.7 percent. Michigan’s overall revenues and tax revenues were down 1.2 percent. Indiana saw a 7.5 percent drop in overall revenues and an 11.4 percent drop in tax revenues. West Virginia experienced the steepest drop in the country, declining 10.9 percent in overall revenues and 9.2 percent in tax revenues.
With Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, it was competition. Indiana has riverboat casinos, most located near Chicago or the Ohio River. They banked on out-of-state business. One of those riverboat casinos is in Lawrenceburg, which is less than 30 miles from Cincinnati. In March 2010, before Cincinnati had any casinos or racinos, revenues at the Lawrenceburg casino totaled $40 million. In March, 2015, with a casino and racino in the Cincinnati area, revenues were $16 million. As a result, legislation has been introduced that would allow existing riverboat casinos to build on land and to allow table games at horse track casinos.
Pennsylvania has also taken a step to counter the competition. The RubinBrown report indicates that the Gaming Control Board has awarded the final category 2 casino license available. A category 2 casino is a stand-alone with up to 5,000 slot machines and 250 table games. This casino will be built in south Philadelphia.
West Virginia’s competition comes from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. As a result, the state lottery commission is considering online gaming at its four racinos. Legislation would have to be enacted for this to occur. Currently only three states allow online gaming – New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.