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Ohio


Ohio's casino revenue estimates are half what was projected
Gov. Kasich's new budget puts the number at just under $1 billion, while voters were promised $1.9 billion
Story by TOM BORGERDING


 
In The Region:
Cleveland’s Horseshoe Casino took in more than $20 million last month, a 16 percent drop from December, but still the highest among the new casinos in the state.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission says casino revenues dropped last month by more than $3 million. And state officials say the casinos are generating far less revenue than supporters promised voters during the 2009 campaign that led to a constitutional amendment authorizing Ohio’s four casinos. For Ohio Public Radio, WOSU's Tom Borgerding reports the projected casino tax total could be off by as much as a billion dollars.
Casino revenue estimates are half what was projected in 2009

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During a 2009 campaign to persuade voters to approve casino gambling, the Ohio Department of Taxation projected casino taxes would produce $1.9 billion a year. 

But, a two-year budget proposal released earlier this week by Gov. John Kasich anticipates only half as much revenue. It projects the state’s four casinos will produce just under a billion dollars.

Democratic strategist Sandy Theis spoke for casino opponents during the 2009 campaign. Her message was then, and is now, that casino supporters oversold Ohio voters.

“But, it was very clear from the beginning that they would do anything or say anything to win and promising all that revenue and all those jobs was their primary argument.”

But, casino operators say the gambling landscape in Ohio changed after those 2009 revenue projections. Bob Tenenbaum speaks for Penn National Gaming, operator of casinos in Columbus and Toledo. He says the approval of electronic slot machines at seven Ohio racetracks diverted some gamblers and their money away from casinos.

“Video lottery terminals at the racetracks, that would probably reduce casino tax revenue by about a half billion dollars. So right there, you’ve got probably half of the difference between the 2009 estimate and the new estimate from the state.”

That still leaves another half billion dollars gap between 2009 projections and what the governor now predicts.
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