ELYRIA — Lorain County’s first payout of casino revenue will be $263,280.95, according to figures released Monday by the Ohio Department of Taxation.
That’s just a fraction of the nearly $10.1 million that will be doled out to counties and the state’s largest cities from tax receipts from the first 1½ months casinos have been operating in Ohio.
“It’s a good start,” Lorain County Commissioner Lori Kokoski said. “It’ll help out, but it’s not going fix our entire problem.”
Commissioner Ted Kalo said the figure was exactly in line with his prediction for how much the county would get in the first round of quarterly payouts, and he said the figure will only grow. He estimated that the next payout, which will come in the fall, will be around $500,000, which puts the county on track to take in the $800,000 it had projected to receive in casino revenue this year.
And with two casinos still left to open, Kalo said the county will take in significantly more money in the future. Casinos in Cleveland and Toledo opened in May, while the casino in Columbus is slated to open later this year and Cincinnati will see its casino open in 2013.
If things go well, the county has estimated it could take in $4 million annually once all four casinos are fully operational.
Commissioner Tom Williams isn’t quite as optimistic. He said the revenue figure was lower than he expected and he doesn’t believe next year’s revenues will be high enough to prevent the county from going into deficit spending.
He said although it’s still too early to say for certain, he believes the county could see a deficit of between $2 million and $4 million next year, even with the casino revenue, whatever it ends up being.
Kalo said he doesn’t believe it will be quite so bad. He said he thinks the deficit will likely be around $1 million.
Kokoski said that although the county still has reduced cash flow in other areas, such as interest income, the casino revenue will go a long way toward reducing deficit spending next year.
County Budget Director Lisa Hobart said the county is in the process of re-evaluating its 2012 budget estimates, but a few months ago officials were planning on a carryover of between $5 million and $6 million.
Williams said even with the carryover, he still believes the county’s current spending patterns will mean a budget crunch next year that likely will mean additional cuts.
In Cleveland, the Horseshoe casino took in $42.9 million at table games in June and $159.6 million at the slots. The casino’s share after winning payouts was $26.1 million.
Players in Toledo bet $19.6 million at table games and $195.6 million at slots. The casino’s after-payout share was $20.4 million.In total, the casinos will pay nearly $19.8 million to fund government and schools as well as to oversee gaming in the state and to combat gambling addiction.
School districts will get their first round of funding early next year, according to the Department of Taxation’s website.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.