The casino tax gamble that hasn't paid off

When people walk into casinos, visions of hitting the big jackpot and leaving with a cash-stuffed wallet often crowd their minds — and possibly cloud good-gambling judgment.

But then reality sinks in, and the odds take over. After futile attempts at slot machines or card tables, visitors often leave with less money than what they entered the establishment with.

Erie County officials, unfortunately, know the feeling of disappointment and coming up short all too well.

Just look to their casino-related tax receipts to realize their plight.

Failing figures

During full-year collections, between 2013 and 2018, the county has annually received, on average, $888,000.

A portion of tax money coming from Ohio’s four full-scale regulated casinos — Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo — goes toward funding many public services in Erie County. Once the casinos opened, between 2012 and 2013, tax money began to accumulate and, eventually, distributed.

Though it’s far less compared to original projections of Erie County receiving $1.3 million per year.

The county never came close to hitting that lofty number. The highest amount ever obtained within a 12-month period? About $914,000 in 2014.

Read more here.