Two Ohio racinos registered record profits from their video lottery terminals in the last fiscal year. According to data from the Ohio Lottery, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway registered more than $153 million in net winnings from its VLTs, up 8% from FY 2021. Meanwhile, Miami Valley Gaming in Warren County registered $219.3 million in net profits from slots and gambling equipment, representing an 18% increase.
The latest record is a continuation of a positive trend that was only broken by the Covid-19 pandemic. While sports betting is set to make its much-awaited debut on January 1, 2023, Danny Cross, a managing editor of PlayOhio believes it will not compare to slot revenue at racinos and casinos. "For one, sports betting margins are low because revenue is shared across the supply chain," he said. "And slots are just a more popular form of gambling across the country by a wide margin."
While sports betting is expected to boom in Ohio -likely to become one of the nation's biggest sports betting states-, revenue from the vertical will probably be a secondary draw at racinos. Slots and horse racing are likely to remain the major draws, with many Ohioans expected to choose other retail locations and online.
Still, they are not willing to miss on the action. As reported by Dayton Daily News, both facilities submitted applications earlier this summer to the Ohio Casino Control Commission seeking approval for sports gambling at their facilities.
According to a letter to the Casino Control Commission from the regional director of compliance for Ohio for PENN Entertainment, Matt Spitnale, Hollywood Gaming has undergone four expansions since its opening in 2014 "which have added more space to the gaming floor." PENN Entertainment owns the facility.
The most recent expansion was completed this spring and added 70 slot machines to the outdoor gaming patio, the letter states, as reported by the above-mentioned source. The racino now has about 982 video lottery terminals, as well as live harness horse racing.
Additionally, Hollywood Gaming recently applied for a city of Dayton building permit for a $3 million project to renovate an existing gaming and storage area into a Barstool Sportsbook.
As for Miami Valley Gaming, according to documents the operator submitted to the Casino Control Commission, it identified constructing a sportsbook in its racing simulcast area as its top capital improvement priority.
As of last month, the facility had about 2,288 video lottery terminals, compared to 1,941 a year ago. Additionally, the venue features a 5/8th mile harness racing track and an indoor grandstand.
The racinos’ applications are still under review and the Casino Control Commission has not yet approved any sports gaming proprietor, service provider, or supplier licenses, said Jessica Franks, the agency’s director of communications, as reported by Dayton Daily News. However, the commission has given preliminary approval to 200 licenses for businesses that want to have sports betting kiosks.
The state predicts that legal sports betting could be a $1 billion industry in the first year and be worth more than triple that amount within a few years. Ohio’s sports betting market eventually could produce $9 billion to $12 billion in wagers and $700 million to $900 million in gaming revenues annually, according to PlayOhio.
Jennifer Woffindale, marketing director with PENN Entertainment, said: "We have submitted our application and are working closely with regulators to open a new sportsbook inside Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. We are excited for this new offering to come to Ohio and for us to be able to offer sports betting to our guests."
Both Hollywood Gaming and Miami Valley Gaming have expanded and rearranged their floors, changed their restaurant offerings, and made other property upgrades that benefit patrons, said Danielle Frizzi-Babb, the Ohio Lottery’s communications director. These major investments have likely resulted in new patrons, she added.