Casinos

Schools May Be Missing Out On Casino Revenue

Jun 16, 2015
State Sen. Bill Coley says over the past three years, the lost tax revenue amounts to roughly $165 million.
Erik Drost / Flickr Creative Commons

 When Ohio voters gave the "okay" for casinos to hit the state more than five years ago, there was a catch. Operators would have to pay a 33 percent tax on their revenue, calculated by subtracting "promotional credits" and payouts from their overall earnings. A chunk of that money then would be funneled to local governments and schools. One state senator thinks the current equation means districts are losing big.

 

casino, gambling
Adam Tinworth

Ohioans have more gaming options now that the state has casinos and video lottery terminals at race tracks. But the charitable groups that rely on bingo to support their missions say expanded gambling is making it more difficult to raise funds these days.

The Children's Toy Fund organization provides terminally-ill children with toys and has depended on charitable bingo for decades. But Jason Bogavitch, a spokesman for the group, says it is getting harder to make enough on the games anymore to make ends meet.

hollywood gaming racino at dayton raceway casino
Jerry Kenney / WYSO

  The city of Dayton could get an injection of extra cash this year from the new racino, but the owners of Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway aren’t happy about having to pay.

Columbus Area Agency Fails To Make Nationwide Loan Payments

Oct 17, 2014
Mike Small / Flickr Creative Commons

The complex deal to use casino-tax money to buy Nationwide Arena has hit a snag: there’s not enough money to make loan payments. Officials expected to pay off the loans with taxes from the new Columbus casino. But casino tax revenues are below projections. The city and county have not made a single loan payment for the arena.

A little history

To keep the Blue Jackets from leaving town, the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority bought Nationwide Arena and gave the team free rent.

Gary DeWitt, the general manager of the new Hollywood Gaming racino in north Dayton, points out features of the main gaming room.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

The Hollywood Gaming racino in north Dayton is getting closer to its opening day. Parent company Penn National spent around $6 million on cleanup of the old Delphi plant site, and now a new building, a racetrack, and almost 2000 parking spots are going in at the corner of Needmore and Wagner Ford roads.

Openclipart

Ohio casino revenue numbers are out for the month of May, and month-to-month revenues are up for the state’s four casinos. But with a new racino on the way, there’s growing competition for those gambling dollars in southwest Ohio.

About 20,000 people are expected to descend on Ohio’s newest racino Thursday.  The new gaming facility in Turtlecreek Township is expected to be a boon to the local economy.

Warren County Economic Development Director, Martin Russell, says Miami Valley Gaming’s new $175 million dollar racino means big revenue for the county.

“I think that when you talk about jobs, you talk about capital investment, you talk about bringing in more people inside of Warren County...this is going to really broaden our economic base," ​said Russell.

Gov. John Kasich's budget proposal suggests that revenue from Ohio's four voter-approved casinos could be about half of what officials had predicted years ago.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that state officials estimated four years ago that the casinos could take in as much as $1.9 billion a year after all were in operation.

But Kasich's budget proposal issued Tuesday projects that gross casino revenue will be $957.7 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1. It could rise to just over $1 billion in the following fiscal year.

The state says Ohio schools are getting nearly $38 million in the first chunk of casino-tax revenue.

This is the first distribution to schools since casinos opened last year. The money is distributed on a per-pupil basis twice per year to more than 1,000 school districts and charter schools across Ohio. It works out to $20.93 for each of the roughly 1.8 million students.

The breakdown was announced Tuesday but the Ohio Department of Taxation. Schools receive 34 percent of the revenue, with 51 percent going to county government.

casino, gambling
Adam Tinworth

Ohio's third casino is scheduled to open by early October in Columbus.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission on Wednesday decided the Hollywood Casino Columbus should open by Oct. 8, as long as it meets necessary requirements.

Commission Executive Director Matt Schuler says that includes the installation of about 3,000 slot machines and 70 table games and the licensing of employees and the casino itself.

A spokesman for developer Penn National Gaming says about 900 of the 2,000 employees have been hired.

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