The Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park posted impressive financial numbers in its first two weeks, with the state’s newest gambling facility earning $8.1 million in revenue.
The other established racinos in Ohio — ThistleDown and Scioto Downs — each averaged a net win in excess of $11 million per month last year.
The Ohio Lottery Commission on Tuesday issued December financial reports for the four racinos now operating in the state. It was the first such report for the Rocksino, which opened Dec. 18 in Northfield with 2,241 slots-like video lottery terminals.
People gambled more than $75 million and the Rocksino paid out $67 million in the first two weeks. The facility took in $260 per day per machine, the commission reported.
The Rocksino also offered only $19,992 in free play.
“Overall, those numbers are really good,” said Alan Silver, an assistant professor of restaurant, hotel and tourism at Ohio University. “The real magic trick now is to keep the numbers up and keep the people returning.”
The Rocksino likely benefited from the “newness factor” and people being curious enough to visit, he added.
The state’s other new racino, Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon, reported $69.9 million gambled from its Dec. 12 opening till the end of the year. It had a net win of $5.7 million and took in $181 per day per machine.
The Rocksino’s nearest competition, ThistleDown Racino in North Randall, posted a net win of $10.7 million and $300 per day per machine in December.
Those numbers at ThistleDown were down from $13.3 million and $385 per machine a month earlier, probably the result of the Rocksino opening.
Revenue also declined at Scioto Downs, from $11.3 million to $10.9 million.
“We are pleased with our video lottery terminal revenue earnings for the 14 days we were open during the month of December,” Rocksino President Jon Lucas said in a statement the facility issued. “We will continue to focus on growing our business as we strive to become the premier gaming and entertainment destination in Northeast Ohio through our determined efforts to provide world-class service.”
The financial reports show that the Rocksino wasn’t the best bet last month. It paid out 89.2 percent of what it took in.
Scioto Downs Racino in Columbus paid out the most at 91.2 percent. ThistleDown paid 90.7 percent and Miami Valley paid 91.9 percent.
If that percentage doesn’t increase at the Rocksino, gamblers will take notice, Silver said.
“Diehards who are going to be repeat customers are eventually going to look at that and realize it’s not paying as much or they’re not getting as big a return,” he said.
Meanwhile, revenue at Ohio’s four casinos — in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo — declined 9.8 percent in December, to $63.2 million, leading to the worst statewide showing in the nine months that all four have been open.
For the month, revenue was off 19.1 percent in Cincinnati, 9.6 percent in Cleveland, 5.8 percent in Columbus and 3.9 percent in Toledo.
Silver predicted that revenue will decline again this month because of the bitter weather and people not wanting to go out.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.