Show Me the Money
A Dayton Daily News investigation has compared 2009 campaign promises with today’s reality. Among its findings:
- Casino advocates predicted annual revenues of $1.9 billion before taxes. That figure was adjusted to $1.4 billion after VLT’s were allowed at seven Ohio horse racing tracks. In 2017 (latest year for the investigation), casino revenue amounted to $818 million (2018 revenue was $837 million);
- Matthew Schuler of the Ohio Casino Control Commission said that “not a single estimate about projected revenue when the casinos were pitched to the public turned out to be accurate.” Bob Tenebaum of Penn National Gaming, however, points out that today’s revenues from all eleven establishments aren’t that far off from the 2009 projections;
- A 2009 University of Cincinnati report stated that casinos would generate annually “nearly $11 billion in total economic impacts and more than $4 billion in fiscal revenues for the state of Ohio during construction and the first five years of operation.” In reality, the state has received just over $1 billion in tax revenues since the casinos opened;
- Part of the campaign promise was to keep jobs and monies in Ohio. This appears to be working. Schuler said that reports from surrounding states do show a decrease in revenues since Ohio’s casinos opened. Research by the American Gaming Association indicates that Ohio gaming supports nearly 20,000 jobs;
- The Ohio Mental Health Addiction Services estimate 264,000 adults and 38,000 adolescents show “problem gambling behavior.” Addiction treatment in 2009 was and still is today a priority. Two percent of casino revenues go for education, treatment and treatment programs.