Racinos fuel Ohio's gambling growth while revenue slips in Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Casino gambling in Ohio is growing faster than in every neighboring state, a cleveland.com analysis found.

Fueling the growth has been Ohio’s slots-only racinos at seven race tracks, leading to continued gains statewide while gambling revenues fell in the last year for Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The busiest of Ohio’s casino or racino operations is now Northfield’s Hard Rock Racino, where gambling revenue – what is kept by the house after paying out winnings – was up $38.2 million in the last 12 months over the same period two years ago.

This was the third sharpest two-year increase among the 44 commercial casinos and racinos in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana and Michigan, cleveland.com found in reviewing data from each state. Only two much larger casinos in eastern Pennsylvania grew faster in terms of dollars wagered.

“The racinos (in Ohio) have done really well," said Alan Silver, an assistant professor of restaurant, hotel and tourism at Ohio University who formerly worked in the casino industry. "They have added a lot of amenities. They are in the suburbs. You don’t have to drive very far. They have done a good job with marketing.”