Based on past gaming revenue projections, the state of Ohio should be careful about expectations of supporting its state budget with earnings from four planned casino facilities in the state. In this month's election, Ohio voters passed a constitutional amendment permitting casino facilities to be constructed in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo.
The casino plan is aimed at creating new jobs and producing revenue for Ohio's state budget, counties and local school systems. Supporters said that the casino facilities would produce $651 million annually in tax revenue, the majority of which would be divided among all eighty-eight counties and their school district.
But some say that constructing casino facilities is nothing more than a gamble on Ohio's future. They cited what happened last year, when Governor Ted Strickland proposed permitting Keno as part of his budget proposal to fill the budget deficit.
But according to the lottery commission, Keno has produced less than half of what was expected. Strickland had counted on the game to produce a profit of $73 million in its initial fiscal year as an option to prevent substantial cuts in education funding.
Lottery records show that Keno earned $30 million during the year that ended July 31st. In Washington County, around $700,000 in Keno sales have been earned at the nine local retailers since the game's launched in August 2008.
At least one local retailers says that the game have had some good effect on business. Mary Eddy, the proprietress of Norwood Tavern at 935 Greene St., Marietta said on November 28th, 2009 that Keno has brought in more customers.
Still, it does not prevent people from driving to Williamson, where video slot machines as well the game are legal. Eddy said that her business earns 5.5% of all keno sales. With the approval of Issue 3 in November 2009, Ohio became the 13th state in the US to approve expanded gaming, which includes slot machines and casino table games at gaming facilities.