Racinos enjoying record run; casinos trending down

Two Dayton-area racinos post their best November revenue totals since opening

Revenue trends for Ohio’s gambling venues are going in opposite directions as racinos post better numbers seemingly every month while the casinos’ take continues to slip.

The state’s seven racinos, which offer only slot machines, reported a record November with nearly $70 million in revenue. Meanwhile, the four casinos had their worst-ever November with $62.1 million.

Miami Valley Gaming near Monroe and Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway were among the racinos that enjoyed their best Novembers on record.

Miami Valley Gaming, which will celebrate its third birthday on Saturday by giving away three SUVs, reported revenue of $10.9 million in November. The last time MVG was below $10 million was November 2015.

“November continued our trend of strong months this year,” said MVG general manager Domenic Mancini. “We had some really great promotions that resonated with our patrons. We continue to be a local entertainment option that offers more than just gaming.”

Hollywood Gaming in north Dayton reported net winnings of $7.2 million in November. It has topped $7 million in nine of the past 10 months.

“Considering they only have half gaming as casinos (which have table games), the racinos in Ohio have done a great job,” said Alan Silver, an Ohio University professor and economic consultant with Nathan Associates. “And they’re lesser-type properties in capital investment.”

The Dayton racino, which covers three parcels of land at Needmore and Wagner Ford roads, is valued at $18,662,360. It paid Montgomery County $722,810 in property taxes this year.

The Ohio Lottery regulates the racinos’ slot machines, also called video lottery terminals. The state retains 33.5 percent of the winnings, with most of that earmarked for education. The state taxes casinos at 33 percent.

“We’ve seen growth in the market since 2014 when the last of the seven racinos opened,” Ohio Lottery Director Dennis Berg said. We’re pleased that the consumer market has embraced the facilities and the amenities they offer, and we look forward to continued growth in the future.”

The racinos have reported revenue of $819.9 million so far in 2015. With an average December, they will exceed 2015’s total revenue by $60 million.

Meanwhile, the casinos are on track to finish the year about $15 million below their 2015 total.

Jack Cincinnati Casino, which was rebranded from Horseshoe Cincinnati in June, reported $15.3 million in revenue last month. That was its worst November since opening in 2013. This despite having its worst payout percentage of the year on table games. Jack’s customers bet $25.7 million on table games and the casino’s payout was 75.7 percent. Slots are programmed to pay out between 90 and 92 percent.

“I’m not thrilled about the rebranding to Jack Entertainment,” Silver said. “I don’t think the name has taken off; I don’t think it was appropriate. It kind of reminded me of a gas stop in the middle of New Mexico.”

Silver, who thinks the racinos eventually will be allowed by the state to add table games, said the racinos have taken advantage of superior locations.

“A lot of racinos are in the suburbs and it’s easy to get there,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about traffic or any crime situations. You have all the amenities, the choices of restaurants and entertainment.

“Eventually they are going to get live table games — not under (Ohio Gov.) John Kasich — and that’s going to add another dimension.”

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