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Introduction to Ohio Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2019

Ohio slot machine casino gambling consists of eleven gaming facilities. Four stand-alone casinos have table games and control their slot machines. Seven pari-mutuel racinos have horse races and video lottery terminal (VLT) style slot machines controlled by the state lottery.

The casinos and racinos have the same minimum payout return limits. Each type of casino has publicly available payout statistics, although they are from different gaming commissions.

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This post continues the weekly series Online Resource: A State-By-State Slot Machine Casino Gambling Series, an online resource dedicated to guiding slot machine casino gambling enthusiasts to success. Each weekly post reviews slots gambling in a single U.S. state, territory, or the federal district.

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Relevant Legal Statutes on Gambling in Ohio*

The minimum legal gambling age in Ohio depends upon the gambling activity:

  • Land-Based Casinos: 21
  • Poker Rooms: 21
  • Bingo: 18
  • Lottery: 18
  • Pari-Mutuel Wagering: 18

In 1933, an approved constitutional amendment legalized pari-mutual wagering at racetracks. The first half of the 1970s saw the arrival of the lottery and charity bingo. Social poker games have always existed, where the house must not profit from the game.

The initial operators of Ohio’s four casinos backed a proposed constitutional amendment. In November 2009, 52% of voters approved the constitutional amendment allowing one casino in the cities of:

  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus
  • Toledo

In addition to the usual fees and taxes imposed on Ohio businesses, the constitutional amendment required or specified:

  • A 33% tax on gross casino revenue
  • Distribution of the proceeds of the tax
  • A license fee of $50 million per casino dedicated to workforce development
  • An initial capital investment of $250 million for the development of each casino facility
  • The existence of the Ohio Casino Control Commission
  • The Ohio General Assembly would pass other laws to facilitate the operation of the casino gaming amendment
    • A maximum of 5,000 slot machines at each casino facility
    • There is no limit on the number of table games allowed

Consequently, other aspects of the amendment impacted Ohio’s gaming industry outside of establishing four casinos. For instance, subsequent changes in state lottery legislation allowed pari-mutual racetracks to begin offer video lottery terminal (VLT) style slot machines in 2012. These were the first racinos in Ohio.

*The purpose of this section is to inform the public of state gambling laws and how the laws apply to various forms of gambling. This information is not intended to provide legal advice.

Slot Machine Private Ownership in Ohio

It is legal to privately own a slot machine in the state of Ohio without restriction as to its date of manufacture.

Gaming Control Board in Ohio

In 1973, a constitutional amendment established the Ohio Lottery Commission. The Ohio Lottery is responsible for and controls the video slot machines found at Ohio’s 7 racinos. These pari-mutuel racetracks began adding VLT-style slot machines starting in 2012.

In 2009, a constitutional amendment created the Ohio Casino Control Commission. Its website is comprehensive but only applies to slot machine casino gambling at Ohio’s four casinos.

The state gaming commission offers significant resources for slots players on the topics of:

  • Responsible Gambling
  • Casino Licensing
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Enforcement
  • Legal Topics
  • Skill Games Topics
  • Ohio Gaming News

For instance, enforcement provides quarterly and fiscal year gaming crimes and statistics including offenses by statute. In 2018, the most common offense was fake/false ID closely followed by theft. Together, they constituted more than 30% of gaming crimes.

Casinos in Ohio

There are four commercial non-tribal casinos and seven racetrack racinos in Ohio. There are no tribal casinos in this state.

The largest casino in Ohio is MGM Northfield Park, a racetrack racino near Cleveland formerly known as Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield, having 2,300 gaming machines and zero table games.

Game s for free. The second largest casino is Hollywood Casino Columbus, the stand-alone casino in Columbus, having 2,150 gaming machines and 79 table games.

List of Casinos in Ohio

The four casinos in Ohio are:

  1. Hollywood Casino Columbus in Ohio’s capital city of Columbus
  2. Hollywood Casino Toledo found 140 miles north of Columbus near the border to Michigan
  3. JACK Cincinnati Casino found 106 miles southwest of Columbus near Kentucky and Indiana in downtown Cincinnati.
  4. JACK Cleveland Casino found 144 miles northeast of Columbus near Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland

The seven pari-mutual racetrack racinos with VLT-style slots in Ohio are:

  1. Belterra Park found 10 miles southeast of downtown Cincinnati
  2. Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs found 11 miles south of downtown Columbus
  3. Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway found 59 miles north of Cincinnati
  4. Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Valley Race Course in Youngstown found 68 miles southeast of Cleveland
  5. JACK Thistledown Racino in North Randall found 16 miles southeast of Cleveland
  6. MGM Northfield Park found 18 miles southeast of Cleveland
  7. Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon found 30 miles north of Cincinnati

List of Tribal Casinos in Ohio


No federally-recognized American Indian tribes exist in Ohio. Consequently, Ohio has no tribal casinos.

Other Gambling Establishments

As an alternative to enjoying Ohio slot machine casino gambling, consider exploring casino options in a nearby state or territory. Bordering Ohio is:

  • North: Michigan Slots and Lake Erie
  • East: Pennsylvania Slots
  • Southeast: West Virginia Slots
  • South: Kentucky Slots
  • West: Indiana Slots

Each link will take you to my article for that bordering state to Ohio.

Payout Returns in Ohio

In OAC Chapter 3772.20, Ohio’s Gaming Control Act states the minimum theoretical payout return is 85% for slot machines at Ohio’s four casinos.

Under Compliance at the Ohio Casino Control Commission are Monthly Casino Revenue Reports with payout return statistics for slots. There, player actual payout return statistics are divided up by:

  • Month
  • State-wide
  • Ohio’s 4 Casinos

In March 2019, actual payout return statistics for the four casinos were:

  • Hollywood Casino Columbus: 91.85%
  • Hollywood Casino Toledo: 90.36%
  • JACK Cincinnati Casino: 91.65%
  • JACK Cleveland Casino: 91.18%
  • State-wide: 91.48%

Ohio’s seven racinos only have VLT-style slot machines controlled by the Ohio Lottery. OAC Chapter 3772.20 states in its Video Lottery Game Rules that VLTs will have an average minimum payout return of 85% during the expected lifetime of the game.

VLT payout return statistics by month as well as for each Ohio racino are at VLT Fiscal Revenue Reports. In March 2019, payout return statistics for the seven racinos were:

  • Belterra Park: 91.08%
  • Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs: 90.61%
  • Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway: 90.06%
  • Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Valley Race Course: 90.03%
  • JACK Thistledown Racino: 90.37%
  • MGM Northfield Park: 90.91%
  • Miami Valley Gaming: 91.65%
  • State-wide: 90.77%

For March 2019, the highest payout of any casino or racino in Ohio was at Hollywood Casino Columbus followed closely by Miami Valley Gaming.

The lowest was at Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Valley Race Course followed closely by Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway.

Our Ohio Slots Facebook Group

Are you interested in sharing and learning with other slots enthusiasts in Ohio? If so, join our new Ohio slots community on Facebook. All you’ll need is a Facebook profile to freely join this closed Facebook Group.

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There, you’ll be able to privately share your slots experiences as well as chat with players about slots gambling in or near Ohio. Come join us!

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Summary of Ohio Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2019

Slots At Hollywood Casino

Ohio slot machine casino gambling consists of four free-standing casinos and seven pari-mutuel racetrack racinos having VLT-style slot machines.

The minimum payout return limit is 85% for slot machines at casinos and VLT-style slots at racinos. Each full casino and racino reports payout return statistics for slots through their respective gaming or lottery commissions, where they are publicly available.

Annual Progress in Ohio Slot Machine Casino Gambling

As announced in February 2019, the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield near Cleveland will become MGM Northfield Park. In mid-July 2018, MGM Growth Properties paid $1 billion for the property and later announced MGM Resorts International would take over operations at the racino.

In late 2018, Boyd Gaming purchased Belterra Park and Entertainment Center, a racetrack racino outside of Cincinnati, for $57.7 million.

Archive: Ohio Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2018

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