NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - Between Ohio and Pennsylvania there are 18 different places where gamblers can play slot machines or video lottery terminals. Of those 12 casinos in Pennsylvania and four casinos and two racinos in Ohio the one that produced the most revenue per machine per day was ThistleDown Racino.
The North Randall race track generated daily revenue after all bets were paid of $327 on each of its 1,123 machines, its fourth straight month of figures north of $300.
Only one other property of the 18 in the two states posted a number above $300 and that was the Sugar House Casino in Philadelphia with a daily take of $305 on its 1,604 machines.
Sugar House is a $390 million casino on the Delaware River, ThistleDown is an $88 million retrofit of a 1950's race track grandstand.
"It's the ultimate in convenience gambling," said Roger Gros publisher of Global Gaming Business. "They don't care what's around them they just want to have a slot machine right in front of them and that's what ThistleDown offers."
He said that's why the now defunct Internet Cafes did so well in Ohio. Before they were outlawed Attorney General Mike DeWine said there were more slot machines operating in the nearly 800 locations that popped up in shopping centers around the state than were in the state's six legal casinos and racinos.
Gros said the July revenue numbers showed something he predicted in 2011, Pennsylvania's consistent growth in gambling trailing off as competition increases and the market reaches saturation.
"Pennsylvania has been declining for two straight months now for the first time," said Gros. "Atlantic City it took 30 years for them to start declining now Pennsylvania has started it within the first three years."
Ohio failing to reach gambling numbers that many predicted is another indication of that. "It's really becoming saturated the entire market in that part of the world," Gros said.
In July the combined slots take between the Horseshoe and ThistleDown was $23.1 million. While it represents the biggest single slots month yet in Northeast Ohio, up over the previous high of $22.5 million in May and shows the market has room to expand, Gros said there's not much room.
"It's not going to grow that much more, there's probably a few pockets that they can still go after but anybody who likes gambling is already gambling and anybody who doesn't like gambling isn't going to come to a place that all they offer is gambling," he said.
And that pie will only be divvied up further when the Hard Rock Rocksino opens at Northfield Park in December.