Gambling revenue up nationally

Spending at casinos in 23 states hit $37.34 billion last year.
TNS Regional News
May 7, 2013


Spending at casinos is up nationally with the help of new casinos, including those in Ohio that opened last year.

The annual report from the American Gaming Association, released yesterday, showed total spending at casinos in 23 states hit $37.34 billion last year, an increase of 4.8 percent over 2011 and the second highest total ever. Ohio gamblers contributed $429.8 million to the total.

At the same time, tax revenues flowing to state and local communities rose to $8.6 billion, an 8.5 percent jump over 2011, the association said in its State of the States report on the industry.

“Gambling has just exploded in certain areas,” said Alan Silver, an Ohio University assistant professor of restaurant, hotel and tourism and a former casino executive.

“What’s helped the revenue numbers escalate has a lot to do with new casinos in states like Ohio and the addition of racinos across the country,” he said, such as Scioto Downs Racetrack & Casino, which opened in June.

The national report said Ohio casinos paid $138 million in gambling tax revenue last year, employed 4,197 people, and paid $91.2 million in wages, benefits and tips. Even though the Buckeye State’s casinos weren’t all open the full year, Ohio’s total gambling revenue jumped ahead of seven other states’, according to the report.

Ohio last year became the 23rd casino state. The statistics do not include full years for all of the state’s four casinos in Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati. The Cincinnati casino opened this year, while Hollywood Casino Columbus opened about seven months ago.

Some casino watchers have expressed concern that Ohio’s casinos are falling far short of producing the overall income and tax revenue originally projected in 2009. Some attribute the erosion of casino revenue to Internet sweepstakes cafes, which remain legal, unregulated and untaxed in Ohio.

“It has been a little disappointing so far,” Silver said, predicting revenue from the four casinos will be about $1 billion this year and $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion in 2014. When all seven of Ohio’s racinos are open, which could be by the end of 2014, the revenue would also be about $1 billion a year, he said.

The growth in casino spending also is tied to the recovering economy, experts said. When economic futures look brighter, people have a little extra cash to burn on entertainment. Casinos are no exception.

As more states legalize casinos, neighboring states often are pressured into following suit, for fear of missing out on a slice of the multibillion-dollar pie.

“It’s truly a domino impact,” said Robert Stocker, a former president of the International Masters of Gaming Law, a research group for industry professionals. “It used to be viewed as very sinful, and it doesn’t have that same status anymore. People are viewing it as just another entertainment venue.”

Not surprisingly, Nevada was the gambling hot spot of the nation last year, with $10.86 billion in revenues, followed by Pennsylvania ($3.16 billion), New Jersey ($3.05 billion), Indiana ($2.61 billion) and Louisiana ($2.4 billion).

Casino employment showed a slight decline to 332,000 in 2012, with $13.2 billion paid to employees in wages and benefits.

The report also included public-opinion polling that found that about one-third of Americans said they visited a casino in the past year. Adults aged 21 to 35 were the most-frequent visitors; nine of 10 young gamblers said they would likely return.


By Alan Johnson - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

Dispatch Reporters Steve Wartenberg and Ian Kullgren contributed to this report.

©2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

Visit The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio) at

Distributed by MCT Information Services



NV just became the first state to legalize in-state internet gaming. Others will follow.

OH needs to get out ahead of the pack and legalize it!

Internet gaming: Lose more money faster than you ever thought possible.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango: Totally agree with you here, at least in terms of revenue raising.

Of course, I think we all know, that the one's who typically lose the most gambling are the one's who can least aFFord it. Which probably translates to them gaming the most on the internet. Then in turn seeking social help after they've lost.

Obviously, the influx of gaming, literally everywhere, has ended bingo as a school fund raising device. Which saddens me as I remember working St. Mary's bingo's and marveling at the speed in which people ---who couldn't aFFord to----were losing on pull tabs.

At least,I rationalized their losses went straight into helping our school. However, this nation wide gaming craze obviously does not and sadly,represents our newest innovative " factory's " for employment. ( I liked it better when we built things in factory's )


@ CC:

Reminds me of reading about the country of Armenia after the fall of communism.

Ponzi schemes were rampant. They apparently mistook them for capitalism.

Who knew gettin' rich could be so easy? Oops!

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango: Got to agree , no matter if it's Ponzi schemes in Armenia, the mob running numbers in the ghetto or whomever dumping bucks in the lottery. Folks, particularly poor folks, are sold on the idea of getting rich quick.

To bad, folks tend to miss the real riches around them : Children, health, family, sunrises, sunsets, working for a goal etc. Perhaps, if they knew how much security is required for Bill Gates or Warren Buffett to live their lives, they might rethink their priorities.

Oh well. At least some tax dollars raked in, as well as many jobs are created by these casinos. To bad, folks can not hear my namesake uncle in their minds, like I can when casinos are involved. Because he said casinos are built on one big human weakness: " Greed "


@ CC:

As I've often said: If choosing between fame and fortune, I'll take the latter.

I remember watching an interview with Steve Wynn once where he talked about when his father first took him to LV.

His father pointed to the casinos and said: Why are they there? Because they make money.

I also once read the bio of Meyer Lansky who at one time operated the Hotel Nacional casino for Batista in Cuba.

He said that govt. owned casinos were the worst, because they tried to cheat everyone.

His casino would let people win a little, they'd tell their friends, which brought in more customers. Ultimately, the casino ended up making even more money.

Lansky: About the only one of the major mobsters to die a "natural death."

I almost never gamble. Probably the German side of the family.

I might play the $1.00 quick pick on my birthday now and then. Actually won $3.00 once, pocketed $2.00 and let the other dollar ride.

I lost. But a 100% rate of return (ROR) was great! :)

The only way that I'd get involved with a casino is if I invested in one. IMO, casino stocks tend to have a lousy return on investment (ROI).

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango : Good morning. I should correct something here, I am not opposed what so ever to gambling. However, I am opposed to losing. Particularly, I am opposed to losing what one can not aFFord to lose.

Obviously,our nation was built by risk takers and I, having the soul of a gambler, strongly urge everyone with a dream to take a risk ( gamble ) and go for it.

So, my real issue here is with state gov't's across the land, attempting to repair budgets with casino's. When obviously, what is needed is manufacturing jobs.

Your ROR is awesome on your lottery tickets, keep up the great work. Speaking of casino's as stocks ( I believe 'Wall st. as well as the CBOT our the biggest Vegas' there are)remember, " Resorts International " back in 1978 ? Of course, that was the Atlantic city casino start and what a crazy rocket ride that stock was.

Got one more bet for you: Steve Wynn if you and I live long enough to see it,has started one the greatest disasters in American history in Vegas. Mr. Wynn started the trend of mega fountains at those massive casinos he loves to build, which of course, forced many others to quickly follow his lead.

Vegas, even has " Lake Las Vegas " as it's most expensive area to live in. Obviously, deserts evaporate water, at an incredible pace and the Colorado river already has problems supplying the millions who use it.

So my bet is on incredibly major problems from this for the people of Vegas. Question is when ? Great day to you