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Casino not the jackpot state, local agencies hoped for

5:33 PM, May 13, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND - Tuesday will be the one-year anniversary since Cleveland's Horseshoe Casino opened its doors.

And the latest numbers show the gamble on building four new casinos in Ohio hasn't paid off as much as government agencies had hoped.

From the start, Rock Gaming says the casinos were expected to generate $100 million in gaming tax revenue.

Of that, $29.7 million would go to the City of Cleveland. $18.7 million would go to Cuyahoga County, and $22.5 million would go towards Cuyahoga County school districts.

But one year later, the casinos actually generated only $25 million in gaming tax revenue. Of that, $8.8 million went to the City of Cleveland, $4.8 million went to Cuyahoga County, and $8.3 million went to school districts.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald says they're expecting the county to get paid anywhere between $8 to $10 million by the end of this fiscal year as the other casinos in Ohio gain momentum.

"It's one of the reasons that we weren't going to balance our budget using this money, we weren't going to pay salaries or benefits, that we were going to use it project by project," says FitzGerald.

The projected money included gaming tax revenue from all casinos, including Cincinnati's, which just recently opened.

But the national firm Fitch Ratings is projecting revenues to fall, due to growing competition from Thistledown and other racinos across the state.

Where the casino has really benefitted the city is by making Public Square safer.

"We have continued to see a reduction in downtown. And the beauty of the casino is that it allowed the city to reinvest additional officers in their downtown services unit," says Downtown Cleveland Alliance President Joe Marinucci.

WKYC-TV

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