Ohio casinos see revenue declines

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COLUMBUS -- Revenues at each of Ohio's four casinos declined in December, leading to the worst statewide showing in the nine months that all were open, according to figures released Tuesday.

Statewide, revenues declined 9.8 percent at the casinos, located in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo, according to figures released by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

The Cincinnati casino opened March 4 and the others opened in 2012.

The statewide December revenue of $63.2 million was the lowest full-month total since all four were open.

For December, revenues were off 19.1 percent in Cincinnati, 9.6 percent in Cleveland, 5.8 percent in Columbus and 3.9 percent in Toledo.

New racinos, horse racing tracks with slots-style video lottery terminals, opened in December north of Cincinnati and near Cleveland , expanding gambling options.

The December declines may reflect both a traditional slow pre-holiday period for the industry and the addition of more racinos to the gambling mix, according to David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Additional racinos scheduled to open this year in the Youngstown, Cincinnati and Dayton areas could further cut into casino revenues, he said.

"This tallies with some of the earlier results. It looks like when you have more competition, you'll see the existing places suffer," he said.

Ohio collects 33 percent in taxes from the casinos and distributes them to the state's 88 counties, its school districts and host cities, among others.

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