Ohio casinos a harbinger for Florida

December 17, 2013 6:47 am

Gambling supporters who expect big bucks from casinos in Florida may want to take a look at Ohio.

The casinos in Ohio have failed to deliver on the more than $1 billion in projected annual tax revenue. Often gambling revenues drop off after several years of steady increases. But the Ohio casinos have disappointed from day one. (See this story in the Columbus Dispatch.)

One of the problems is the gambling market is getting saturated. Many states already have casinos, so there is little need for gamblers to travel elsewhere. Since Florida already has lots of gambling options, any increase in spending by residents is expected to be marginal. And that’s using the best-case figures from a study by Spectrum Gaming, a pro-casino group hired by the state. It is also worth noting that Spectrum did the study for Ohio that has proven to be way off. When it comes to gambling studies, supporters often over promise and under deliver.

Considering the added tax revenue is the main reason lawmakers argue for casinos, it is hard to make the case that more casinos in Florida is a good idea – as this blog post makes clear. If the state is just going to get more social and economic costs and marginal financial benefit than why bother? Other states have found that gambling is not a cure for budget woes.

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2 thoughts on “Ohio casinos a harbinger for Florida

  1. I live in northeast Ohio, within a one to one and a half hour drive to six, yes six , casinos. My observation is that regular gamblers have not increased their gambling budgets despite the recent proliferation on these gambling halls. They like to try out a new place, such as one would try a new restaurant, but then stick with a more convenient or more familiar venue. A new racino will soon be opening closer, in a suburb of Youngstown. The disappointment, when it fails to live up to its hype, will be predictable. I can only hope it teaches a lesson of the folly of gambling as an economic panacea.

  2. In fact, the impetus that got casinos legalized in Ohio was the previous governor’s backdoor attempt to legalize VLT’s at horse tracks unilaterally by executive fiat. Although he was shot down in the courts, the voters saw the handwriting on the wall and passed a law that would at least spread the casino booty around the state. Gambling taxes are seen as free money. Sit back and collect a royalty and let the casino cities bear the brunt of the problems. Classic NIMBY!

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