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Cincinnati gambling revenues highest ever

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Cincinnati’s gambling market has recovered from pre-Great Recession levels and is generating more revenue than ever.

In the last 12 months, gambling outlets in Greater Cincinnati made $807.5 million and are on track to reach $820 million by the end of the year. That will easily top the previous record of $796.9 million from 2006, which was the region’s gambling market’s most lucrative year.

The market peaked in early 2007, with three Southeast Indiana riverboats raking in $802.1 million in revenue during the 12 months ending June 2007. However, hat year ended with the collapse of the real estate market that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

Spending at casinos has rebounded nationally, climbing 6% to $40.2 billion in 2015. This year, Ohio casinos and racino are on track to do $1.7 billion in business.

“People have more money t spend and properties have seen re-investment,” said David Schwarts, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

While the U.S. market us the largest its ever been, but competition has never been feircer. The gambling industry first struggled from the effects of the Great Recession, but was quickly hit with a new wave of new competition – much of it legalized by states trying to raise new taxes to replace revenues lost to the downturn.

“That’s what happens: when you go into recession states look for a quick fix and casinos are a way to grow taxes and jobs,” said Chad Beynon, an analyst with Macquarie.

Greater Cincinnati, which now has seven gambling outlets, embodies America’s enlarged gambling market. The region has completely transformed in the last decade with the addition of Downtown’s Jack Cincinnati Casino and three new racinos. Ohio’s legalization of gambling moved 60% of the gambling – and more than $150 million in tax revenue – back to the Buckeye state.

Ohio voters authorized casino gambling in 2009, paving the way for Jack Cincinnati Casino in Downtown, which is now the region’s No. 1 gambling destination. In 2011, Gov John Kasich and Ohio lawmakers green lit video slots at the state’s seven racetracks, which has led to Miami Valley Gaming racino in Turtlecreek Township, Belterra Park racino in Anderson Township and Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway.

Jack Cincinnati Casino is the region’s No. 1 gaming outlet, collecting $197 million in the last 12 months or nearly 25% of betting dollars.

Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg is No. 2, generating $168 million income with 21% of local market share.

Miami Valley Gaming racino is the region’s third-busiest gambling outlet, earning $131 million in revenues in the last 12 months with 16% of the market.

Belterra Casino Resort in Florence, Indiana has 13% of the local market with $103 million. Hollywood Dayton is fifth on the list with $88 million and 11% of local market share.

Belterra Park racino has done $75 million in business in the last 12 months, netting a 9 percent share of the market. Rising Star Casino & Resort in Rising Sun did $45 million in gambling revenue in the last year worth 6 percent of the market.