As ThistleDown moving decision deadline looms, May revenue numbers released

NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - Hard Rock Rocksino posted its biggest single month since opening in December taking in $16.1 million after all bets were paid in May, which was up $1.4 million or 10 percent from April.

While the slots only rocksino likely cut into the win of nearby ThistleDown Racino, the North Randall track with its May take of $10.5 million was down only 3.7 percent from last year.

That’s important to note as ThistleDown’s owners, Rock Ohio Caesars, approach a Wednesday deadline to alert the Ohio State Racing Commission if they intend to move the track under the terms of 2011 agreement with the state to allow video lottery terminals at the state’s seven horse racing tracks.

Rock has been considering the move to the Akron-Canton area to ease competition in the Northeast Ohio gambling market served by Hard Rock Rocksino, ThistleDown and its downtown property Horseshoe Casino Cleveland.

But May casino/racino revenue numbers released Monday show the opening of Hard Rock has grown the slots/VLT market by 64.5 percent since last May, with the three properties posting a total slots/VLT take this year of $37.1 million compared to $22.5 million last May.

Horseshoe Casino Cleveland was down just over a half million dollars or 2.8 percent from last year with a total take in May after all bets were paid of $19.4 million. Slots were down 9.7 percent from last year but up 3 percent from April. (Horseshoe’s number of slot machines has dropped from 1,846 last May to 1,583 now.)

Table games continue to be strong with a May take of $9 million, up 6.6 percent from a year ago and 2 percent from April.

Horseshoe Casino Cleveland was the state leader again in total revenue in May followed Hollywood Columbus with $18.3 million, Horseshoe Cincinnati with $17.1 million and Hollywood Toledo with $16.1 million.

If ThistleDown Racino moves they would have to pay the state a one-time fee of $25 million and they can only relocate to a 12-mile area around the Akron-Canton Airport but residents of the city of Green, which accounts for a large part of that area, have already voted to block any such expansion to their community.

Ohio State Racing Commission Executive Director William Crawford said late Monday they have heard nothing from Rock Ohio Caesars about whether the track is staying or moving.

The North Randall track continues to lead all gambling outlets in the state so far as its daily win per machine bringing in $296 per machine in May.

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