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Revenue at new Cincinnati casino ranks second highest

Ohio’s newest casino in Cincinnati, open three days shy of a full month, ranked second among the state’s four casinos for the highest monthly adjusted gross revenue in March, according to data released Monday by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

Gross casino revenue refers to the money received by the casino operators less winnings paid to patrons.

Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati — which took in $21,006,432 at its 2,000 slot machines and 116 table games — helped boost statewide monthly casino revenue to more than $84 million for March.

The Horseshoe Casino Cleveland, with 1,849 slot machines and 119 table games grossed $24,495,912 for March, the highest of the four casinos. The six-month old Hollywood Casino Columbus, facing competition from the state’s first racino Scioto Downs, took in $20,942,133. Hollywood Casino Toledo had gross adjusted revenue of $17,842,949. Toledo has 80 table games and 2,037 slot machines.

The biennial budget proposed by Gov. John Kasich projects that the four casinos will bring in gross revenue of $957.7 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1. If March revenue levels continue, they’ll meet that goal, Tama Davis, director of communications for the Ohio Casino Control Commission said.

“Cincinnati had a very good opening push and it wasn’t even open a full month. If the trend continues at all the properties they will be very close to meeting that prediction,” Davis said. “What we do know is that all of the properties had highs the first couple of months, then dropped a little bit and leveled off.”

Still, Kasish’s projection falls short of the $1.4 billion annual revenue state officials predicted the casinos would generate in 2009 when voters were asked to approve Las Vega-style gaming in Ohio. That figure reflected allowing video lottery play at race tracks.

The 2009 figure was based on estimates for an industry not yet operating in the state, while the new budget projections are based on real activity, Davis said.

The Ohio Department of Taxation also on Monday released quarterly distributions of the casino revenue tax going to counties and major cities. Fifty-one percent of the casino revenue tax goes into a county fund for quarterly distribution to all 88 counties based upon population.

Montgomery County got the largest local distribution at $742,806.58. The County Commission has designated the revenue be spent on economic development grants and arts funding so that it benefits all jurisdictions. Because Dayton has a population over 80,000 according to the 2000 census, the city also receives $742,806.58.

Warren County will get $604,007, up from $497,636 in the January, before the opening of Horseshoe Cincinnati. County Administrator David Gully said it’s too early to project what the revenue to counties will be in the future. He equates predicting casino revenue to being asked to say what kind of person a child will be when he or she grows up.

“We have a wait and see attitude. We never know what it’s going to be,” Gully said. “It’s a gamble.”

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