The largest Ohio casino to date opened in Columbus yesterday, as the $400 million Hollywood Casino Columbus welcomed patrons with some 3,000 slot machines and more than 100 gaming and poker tables. It is the state’s third full casino, following Horseshoe Casino Cleveland and Hollywood Casino Toledo, both of which opened in May. Scioto Downs, with video lottery terminals only, opened June 1 and is the only racetrack thus far to open a gaming area.
Certainly the Columbus casino will impact nearby Scioto Downs. Scioto has distinguished itself as the only gaming facility in Ohio to have reported increased revenues each month in the short time since it has been open, but that streak will probably come to an end this month. Business was brisk enough that the track added 330 VLTs in August and September, reaching 2,117 machines, more than the slot counts at Cleveland and Toledo. We’ll see what happens now that the Columbus casino has opened.
The following chart summarizes gross gaming revenue at three properties to date. Note that September revenues have not yet been posted for the two full casinos.
Meanwhile, it’s interesting to look at recent results in the two casino markets closest to Toledo and Cleveland: Detroit and Erie, Penn., respectively. Detroit casino revenues were down slightly in May and June, but not anything that indicates a serious impact just from Toledo. In July, Detroit revenues were down 6.7 percent from the year before, but they rebounded nicely and August revenues were up by 1.6 percent. Year-to-date revenues in Detroit, through August, are actually up marginally, thanks in part to a big February, well before the Ohio casinos opened.
The casino at Presque Isle Downs in Erie has taken a more obvious hit. About 100 miles and an easy direct route from Cleveland, slot and table revenues at Presque Isle have been off considerably since the Cleveland casino opened, with double-digit declines each month compared to last year.