Ohio Casinos See Record-High Revenue In July Despite Pandemic

Posted on August 14, 2020 - Last Updated on August 24, 2020

Apparently, absence made the hearts of gamblers in Ohio grow fonder. Last month, patrons in the state helped set a new Ohio casino revenue record.

The state’s gambling facilities combined to report around $86 million in wins for July. That’s remarkable given COVID-19 restrictions, but casinos also currently benefit from a lack of other entertainment options as well.

Ohio casino revenue record amid a pandemic

The aggregate revenue for July topped the previous high of $84.3 million, set in March 2013. There are some effects of the pandemic that made the record improbable.

For example, state mandates impose a new maximum capacity of 50% for casinos. Additionally, casinos are unable to offer poker games and live entertainment.

Many casinos have also shuttered gaming positions, like alternating slot machines, to allow for distancing. The enhanced vulnerability of older Ohioans to the virus has also resulted in casinos’ normal customer base staying home.

The restrictions have also limited horse racing in the state. At the Dayton Raceway, for example, the action has only been simulcasting instead of live races.

The pandemic has actually had some silver linings for Ohio casinos, however. First off, the nearly three-month closure produced some pent-up demand.

Additionally, Detroit’s commercial casinos remained closed in July, likely prompting Michiganders who wanted to gamble to visit properties in nearby Toledo.

That was nowhere more evident than at the Hollywood Casino. That property set a facility record of over $33 million in revenue for July. That’s nearly $13 million more in win than its previous record set in June 2012.

The new Hollywood tally is also double the revenue for the same month last year. As you would expect, it’s also the best month for any single Ohio casino. The Horseshoe Cleveland Casino set the previous record of $26.11 million in June 2012.

There’s another component of the pandemic that played a part in creating this unprecedented win, however. That component may keep casinos busy for quite a while yet.

Ohioans may simply be asking: what else is there to do?

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is still barring concerts, spectator sporting events, and theaters. Restaurants are operating at lower capacities as well.

For those reasons, casinos are one of the few entertainment options open to the public, albeit on a restricted basis, in the state right now. With the protocols in place, Ohioans and residents of nearby states obviously feel safe enough to gamble.

There’s currently no timeline for when DeWine might lift additional restrictions. Until then, Ohio casinos seem to have found a recipe for success in the current climate.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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