Thanks to the added attention given to gambling across the US this year, Ohio’s casinos and racinos enjoyed a slightly better July 2019. The gambling houses took in $162.2 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR), a year-on-year uptick of 2.3%, to continue to lay the foundation for expanded gambling. Adding to the positive gain is the realization that the gambling facilities moved upward without the help of MGM Resorts International’s MGM Northfield Park.
The JACK Thistledown Racino and the JACK Casino in Cleveland helped give Ohio a significant boost last month. Thistledown saw its GGR go up by 15.3% from July of last year, reaching $12.3 million. Its counterpart in Cleveland took in $17.1 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 7.3%.
Hollywood Columbus and Hollywood Toledo also contributed to Ohio’s success. GGR at the Toledo property was reportedly $17.2 million, only $400,000 more than in July 2018, and Hollywood Columbus went from $18.9 million to $19.4 million, an increase of $500,000.
While almost everyone else was looking up, MGM was looking down. MGM Northfield Park saw its GGR decrease by 5.8% when looking at July 2018 and July 2019. It reported revenue of $21.2 million, a downward trend that has been seen in three of the past four months.
The increase in GGR could be an indication that the state is ready to take the next step forward. This would be with the introduction of sports gambling, a topic that has already caused some friction in the state, but which is gaining support. It has already been established that sportsbooks are almost guaranteed to not make it to Ohio’s landscape this year, but progress is still being made toward an eventual launch.
As the Buckeye State sees how its neighbors start to benefit from legalized sports gambling, lawmakers may start to feel a sense of urgency to approve legislation. Both Pennsylvania and West Virginia, two of the four states touching Ohio, offer sports gambling and both are looking at very lucrative gaming markets.
If Ohio lawmakers can get their act together, there is no shortage of gambling operators ready to join the mix. Several are already on the sidelines ready to be put in the game. They have their uniforms, their gear and their playbooks and now only need for coaches to let them on the field.