Counties, schools and other entities are getting a little less cash this week as the state hands out the latest cut from casino taxes.
The Ohio Department of Taxation will dole out $68.6 million today — 2.2 percent less than the last disbursement in October. The taxes were collected from October through December.
Counties will receive the biggest chunk of the money at $35 million. Schools will get about $23 million.
The remainder goes to: the state’s eight largest cities, the Casino Control Commission, Ohio State Racing Commission, training for law enforcement and efforts to address problem gambling.
Summit County and Akron each will receive $820,584. Stark County and Canton will each get $568,795.
Cuyahoga County will receive $1.9 million, while Cleveland gets $2.89 million, which includes extra cash for being the host city for a casino.
Medina County is in line for $527,069, while Portage and Wayne counties are receiving $489,946 and $348,523, respectively.
For the calendar year, the state collected and handed out $272 million in taxes.
Overall, casino revenue was $821 million last year. The state had anticipated revenue of $886 million, said Fred Church, deputy director at the state’s Office of Budget and Management.
“We don’t have a lot of history to go on,” he said about making predictions.
Church said revenue was likely off for a variety of reasons, including consumers being more cautious with their discretionary spending and competition from the slots-like video lottery terminals at horse tracks.
The $821 million also is significantly less than the $1.9 billion that state tax officials had projected years earlier during the election campaign to allow gambling in Ohio.
Casino tax revenue might dip even more. The extreme cold this month is expected to affect revenue negatively.
Also, two new competitors — Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in Northfield and Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon — opened last month.
Summit County Finance and Budget Director Brian Nelsen said the county is being conservative when predicting its share of casino taxes, which are projected to be about $3.3 million for 2014.
He’s concerned that the racinos are eating away at casino revenue. Counties do not receive a share of the racino revenue, which goes to the Ohio Lottery Commission and problem-gambling efforts.
“There’s a finite pool of gambling dollars in the state, and the more racinos that open up, the more they are going to pull money away from casinos,” Nelsen said.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or email@example.com.