Back in 2009 the Ohio Department of Taxation persuaded voters to approve casino gambling with a projection that four new casinos would generate more than $1.5 billion in tax revenues annually.
However, last year Governor Kasich revised that estimate, slashing it by $500 million dollars.
The reason why? It's no mystery -- slot machines are the cash cows of the gaming industry, responsible for approximately 66 percent of revenues and the number of slots in Ohio is skyrocketing.
In Columbus, the Hollywood Casino competes with Scioto Downs Racino, together they offer gamblers nearly 45-hundred slot machines to chose from.
In the Cleveland/Akron area the Horseshoe Casino has the Thistledown Racino and Hard Rock "Rocksino" to contend with. All told, they offer the area more than 5-thousand machines.
Then there's Cincinnati's Horseshoe Casino which faces fierce competition from Indiana's Belterra, Hollywood, and Rising Star Casinos. Here in the tri-state there are over 8-thousand slots with more on the way.
Lebanon's Miami Valley Gaming with its 16-hundred video lottery terminals or "VLT'S" is the latest to open in the tri-state. General Manager Jim Simms is confident that their business model will keep them competitive saying:
"It all comes down to the guest experience, if you look at our facility it's designed to have wide spacious aisles, the most comfortable slot chairs you can have, so we've designed a great experience for the guest."
Professor Alan Silver at Ohio University is an expert on the gaming industry. He tells FOX19 that it's not just about getting gamblers in the door, but getting them to come back again and again.
"As an operator, I want to have loyalty with my customers so I want to have excellent customer service. Customer service is the name of the game," he says.
Meanwhile, the competition in the tri-state is only going to tighten as the old River Downs, now known as Belterra Park, opens for business this May and with it 16-hundred more slot machines giving area gamblers more options and making it tougher for the state of Ohio to meet its revenue projections.
***The Horseshoe Casino offered FOX19 the following statement:
Horseshoe Cincinnati was sized, designed and developed knowing additional entertainment options would be entering the tri-state area. We welcome the competition, as it will help us all strengthen our customer service programs. At Horseshoe Cincinnati, we will continue to provide the latest in gaming and entertainment options, along with legendary service and our award winning guest loyalty program, Total Rewards.
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