Total Ohio casino revenue was up last month, but gambling revenue in Columbus dropped 10 percent and will likely result in a lower than expected share for Clark County.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission released a monthly casino revenue report on Monday, and all three casinos combined to bring in more than $56.6 million in December, up 5 percent from $54 million in November.
The Hollywood Casino in Columbus, however, collected $17.9 million in revenue in December, the lowest since it opened. The casino, which opened Oct. 8, brought in $18.2 million its first month and $20 million in November.
Casino revenue statewide has been inconsistent since the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland and Hollywood Casino opened in May. The lower than expected casino revenue prompted the Ohio County Commissioners Association to report late last year that casino revenues would likely be 20 to 25 percent below original estimates.
Local governments receive four casino payments each year, and the Ohio Department of Taxation is expected to release January distribution totals for Clark County and other Ohio counties for later this week.
Since July, Clark County has received $360,000 from casino revenue, and county commissioners have been asked by area municipalities to share the funds.
Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said officials will not make plans for the money until at least November because casino revenues remain in flux.
“I would think by the next budgeting cycle that we’ll be able to say here’s what we can count on,” Lohnes said.
The Hollywood Casino Toledo collected $20.4 million in June, but dropped to $13.5 million by November. The Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland saw collections fall from $26 million in June to $20.4 million in November.
Both casinos saw increases in revenue in December with the Horseshoe bringing in $24.5 million in December and the Toledo casino collecting $14 million.
Clark County received $120,000 in casino revenue in July and more than $239,000 in October.
Commissioner John Detrick he was surprised Columbus casino revenue dropped and questioned whether the holidays, freezing temperatures and snow storms contributed the to the decline.
He also said the numbers likely mean Clark County’s share will be less that anticipated.
“(Columbus) is probably the most able economically. They have a lower unemployment rate than Toledo and Cleveland. But this backs up my belief that it’s an unstable revenue stream,” Detrick said. “You don’t know what you’re going to get from one month to the next.”