The expansion of the gaming industry in Ohio is set to continue with the state expected to be home to nearly 22,000 slot machines by the middle of 2013.
Ohio didn’t open its first casino until May 2012 but is now already home to three casinos with a fourth – the Horseshoe Cincinnati opening on the 4th of March.
On top of the opening of the new casino Ohio has become the latest state to legalize slot machines at race courses with six tracks expected to host games by the end of 2014.
Many in the racing industry believe that the installation of slot machines will save the Ohio horse racing industry which has struggled in recent years.
“Supporters of slots at track believe that slot machine proceeds will fatten purses, increases attendance and betting and keep top horses from leaving the state,” Ohio Journalist Thomas Ott said.
Racing trainers and breeders say that the slot machines cannot come fast enough.
“Some of us stuck it out, working hard over the last 10 years to get something like this through,” Owner of Blazing Meadows thoroughbred farm Tim Hamm said.
“I wish they were opening the doors tomorrow.”
The benefits can already be seen at the Scioto Down track in Columbus that installed slot machines in June 2012 and now shares a state-leading average of $7046 prizemoney per race.
Some gaming analysts believe that Ohio is running the risk of gambling overload but Brock Milstein, owner of the Northfield Park harness track, is confident that there are enough punters to keep both the racecourses and casinos happy.
“We think there’s enough business for the three of us,” Milstein said.
“The Horseshoe Casino will attract gamblers from all around the region while Northfield Park and Thistledown will draw customers from their local communities.”