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Ohio Casinos Can’t Wipe Away January Revenue Doldrums

Written By Derek Helling on March 1, 2024
person cleaning slot machines

A year-over-year comparison for the sum of taxable gaming revenue from Ohio’s licensed casinos and sportsbooks was not going to be kind in January 2024. The question has been just how unfavorable comparing the numbers for January 2023 and January 2024 would be.

That revenue total dropped by more than a third in that juxtaposition. While the difference in sports wagering activity accounted for most of it, play at Ohio’s four brick-and-mortar casinos in terms of slots and table games can’t be absolved of some blame.

Taxable revenue from slots and table games take a dive in January

According to the January 2024 revenue report by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the four casinos combined to report over $75.2 million in taxable revenue for January 2024. That encompasses their revenue from slots and table games while excluding the same from in-person sports bets.

That figure represents a decline of 12.6% compared to January 2023. Revenue from table games was down slightly further than the same for slots, at 15.2% compared to 11.5%. While all four properties individually saw a year-over-year decline in these segments of at least 7%, Hard Rock Cincinnati bore the brunt at an 18% drop.

While the comparison looks unfavorable within this scope, a broader view prompts a more negative narrative at first glance. That’s why it’s essential to take more than a cursory glance at the numbers.

Sports betting numbers take an expected tumble

In January 2023, legal sports betting in Ohio was in its extreme infancy. That was the first month in which the activity was ongoing. It was quite a debut, too, and no month since has come close to matching the final tallies for January 2023 Ohio sports betting figures.

A look at the raw numbers, excluding Class C kiosks, from the second of January with legal sports betting in the state produces some ugly comparisons. For example:

  • The amount wagered ($810.4 million) was down 27.2% compared to January 2023
  • Gross win ($118.5 million) dropped 49.1% year-over-year for the month
  • Taxable revenue ($113.2) million represented a 46.2% decline

It’s important to put those numbers in context, however. January 2024 was never going to live up to the first iteration simply because sports betting was the hot, new thing in 2023. Additionally, sportsbooks themselves were promoting their products at a far higher rate in January 2023.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission’s January 2024 sports gaming figure for promotional spending was down a whopping 87.5% compared to January 2023. The reality is that the casino numbers are probably far more concerning for Ohio’s gambling industry.

The bottom line from Ohio’s January numbers

Altogether, taxable revenue from Class A and Class B sports betting, physical slot play, and physical table games came to $188.4 million in January 2024, which represented a 36.4% decline from the same month in 2023. There are some important caveats to that percentage.

Despite the size of that number, the sports betting figures represent what the Ohio sports betting market is worth. The amount of money wagered in January 2024 was still the fourth-highest single-month total to date in Ohio.

Furthermore, the gross win represented the second-highest total yet. Thus, there is more work to be done to reverse what’s been a steady string of underperformance monthly in comparison to previous returns for the state’s four casinos.

Revenue numbers for Ohio casinos in January 2024 suggest the truth of the saying that things are never as bad or as good as they seem.

Photo by AP Photo/Tony Dejak
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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