January’s $1.2 Billion Bet At Ohio Racinos The Lowest In 2 Years

Written By TJ McBride on February 26, 2024
Photo of slot machines for story on January 2024 racinos revenue in Ohio

Ohioans enjoy several options when it comes to gambling. There’s both online and retail sports betting available, as well as four commercial casinos. The Buckeye State also has sports betting kiosks scattered around the state.

A fourth option is wagering at one of the racinos in the state. Racinos feature horse racing along with slot machines. In January, the seven racinos in Ohio combined to take in nearly $1.2 billion in wagers.

While that handle is nothing to scoff at, it represents the slow decline in popularity being felt by racinos in Ohio.

Racinos’ declining popularity evident again in January

Like sports wagering, Ohio horse race betting can take place online. Players can also bet on horse races run outside Virginia, including The Kentucky Derby.

January is regularly one of the slowest months of the year for racinos. That said, January 2024 was one of the worst months in the past couple years.

The $1.2 billion in wagers placed at Ohio racinos in January represents the lowest total in the fiscal year, which began on July 1. The last time racinos saw a lower handle was in February 2022, when $1.13 billion was bet. January’s handle was 14.8% worse month over month and 6.8% worse year over year.

Racinos in January did walk away with $101 million in net winnings, but that mark also fell short of expectations. Operator winnings were 16.2% worse month over month and 8.9% lower year over year. It was the lowest monthly winnings for operators since January 2022, when $95.6 million was won by racinos.

That is a worrisome trend for racino operators. While December 2023 represented a bounce-back of sorts, it is proving to be more an aberration than an indicator of future success.

MGM Northfield Park leads Ohio racino operators in January revenue

MGM Northfield Park led the state in total handle with $258.4 million of wagers taken. That represented 22.4% of the Ohio market share, but it was still a fall of 13.3% month over month. Its players won $232.2 million, which left $22.2 million of net winnings after considering $3.9 million in promo plays.

The second-place finisher for January was Miami Valley Gaming, which took $218.5 million in wagers. That was a dramatic 19.1% fall month over month. Its players took home $196.8 million, which left $18.3 million in net winnings.

The bronze medal goes to Scioto Downs and its $179.2 million in handle. Bettors won $159.6 million from those wagers, which left $16.3 million in net winnings.

Here’s how the final four racino operators in Ohio fared in January:

Ohio reaps $34.1 million in tax dollars from racinos in January

In January, Ohio received $34.1 million in tax dollars. Of that total, $33.8 million went to the Ohio Lottery to be redistributed. The remaining $355,349 goes to problem gambling services.

Unfortunately, tax money paid by Ohio racinos is also declining. January’s tax contributions were the lowest since January 2022’s $32 million. The tax dollars paid in the first month of 2024 were 16.2% lower month over month and 8.9% worse year over year.

As to be expected, the casinos that accumulated the most revenue also paid the most in taxes. Here are all seven racinos ranked by tax contributions:

  • MGM Northfield Park: $7.5 million
  • Miami Valley Gaming: $6.2 million
  • Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs: $5.5 million
  • JACK Thistledown Racetrack: $4.6 million
  • Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Valley Race Course: $4.1 million
  • Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway: $3.9 million
  • Belterra Park Cincinnati: $2.2 million
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TJ McBride

T.J. McBride is a Denver-based writer and reporter who covers sports betting for PlayOhio. His work has been featured on ESPN, CBS Sports, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report and Yahoo Sports, among others.

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