KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) - The signs for the new Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati ask you to settle for more, but according to numbers 2 NEWS uncovered, taxpayers have had to settle for less.
According to projections from the Ohio Department of Taxation when the casino initiative was on the ballot, the four proposed casino's were supposed to generate $643 million in tax revenues.
But the Casino Control Commission of Ohio tells 2 NEWS tax revenues for 2014, the first full year with all 4 casinos in operation, will actually be $310 million.
"No one has a crystal ball," says Casino Control Commission spokesperson Tama Davis. "It's hard to say because there are so many factors that influence."
State officials blame the changing economy and competition from racinos and Internet gaming cafe's in the state.
"You're giving people with gambling dollars more outlets to spend those dollars," Davis says.
But whatever the reason for the dip, it's local school's and governments that will suffer.
Take Dayton, which was told it would get $7.7 million a year from the casino taxes.
"We never thought that was likely to be that high," says Deputy City Manager Stanley Earley.
But Earley says even the city's projection this year of $3.4 million from casinos may wind up being too high.
"It's not a giant number but it's a significant number and when you take it along with the other reductions we've had from the state it adds up," Earley says.
Even though the initial projections turned out to be too high, state officials say they were done impartially and not to sway voters.
"I think the Department of Taxation did a thorough job wrapping their arms around what could possibly be generated by these properties," Davis says.
Davis says casino revenues are significantly down in surrounding states, which is proof that Ohio's casinos have been successful at keeping tax dollars in the state.
New numbers for casino revenue through the first three months of the year are due out Monday.
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