April 8, 2014
Revenue at all eight of Ohio’s casinos and racinos rose in March compared with February, thanks in part to the longer month, which included five Saturdays.
But Scioto Downs Racetrack & Casino was the only one of the five gambling venues open at least a year to improve on its March 2013 total, as competition from three new racinos siphoned away revenue.
Revenue at Scioto Downs was $12.79 million in March, a 15.6 percent jump from February, the Ohio Lottery Commission reported, and a 1.5 percent improvement over its March 2013 total.
“We’re thrilled with the number, and we really pushed a few great promotions in March,” said Scioto Downs spokeswoman Ashley Redmon.
Revenue at Hollywood Casino Columbus was $20.78 million in March, a 19.2 percent increase from February and a 0.8 percent decline from a year ago, the Ohio Casino Control Commission said.
“I’d expect an increase in the March totals compared to February, but such a big increase is a positive trend,” said Steve Gallaway, a principal of Gaming Market Advisors, a Denver gambling-industry research firm.
Overall, revenue at the state’s four Las Vegas-style casinos was $79.59 million in March, a 19.2 percent increase over the February total.
That was the second-highest monthly total for the four casinos, behind only the March 2013 total of $84.29 million.
“When you have so much new competition come online and only experience a small revenue decline from the previous year, that shows a market which is not yet mature,” Gallaway said.
“I’d say there’s still significant potential for growth as we come out of the recession and the casinos learn to efficiently market to the residents of Ohio and the neighboring states.”
Horseshoe Cleveland had the highest revenue in March, at $21.26 million, a 13.2 percent drop from the casino’s March 2013 total of $24.50 million. Two nearby racinos — ThistleDown and Hard Rock Rocksino, Northfield Park — opened in the past year.
Redmon said Scioto Downs has refined its marketing campaign in the past year.
“Being a new market, we didn’t have any numbers or statistics on players to work with,” she said. “Now, we have a better read on our folks and have learned what promotions they really like and respond to, and we really push those promotions.”
Overall, March revenue at the state’s four racinos was $50.92 million, a 16.8 percent jump from the previous month.
The March total for the racinos was the highest to date, but it represented only the third month in which the four racinos have been open for the entire month.
The Belterra Park racino near Cincinnati is scheduled to open in May, while Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway and Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course will open in the fall.
“The racing season at Dayton opens Oct. 3 and at Mahoning on Nov. 24,” said Hollywood spokesman Bob Tenenbaum. “We’re hopeful the (slots) will open prior to the start of the racing seasons.”