This article was originally posted on Ohio Advantage. Posts and pages from that site have been relocated to US Casino Advantage. Additional archived posts may be found here.
Ohio was the last state in the region with casinos to legalize them. Every state that borders it except Kentucky has legalized casinos.
In some ways, there is little difference between casinos in each of those states. There are a few differences. One main feature that stands out in the Ohio gaming market is the restrictions at the racetracks.
Ohio racetracks cannot have full-service casinos. Those are only permitted in the state’s four largest cities. Ohio racinos are video lottery establishments. Players would never know that. The machines are indistinguishable from slot machines. That is basically what they are. The games are video slots, reels and keno. Ohio racinos may not have video poker, table games or poker.
There are no hotels at any Ohio casinos. The gaming operations work with local lodging partners and book blocks of rooms. While there has been some talk about Ohio casinos building hotels, it does not seem like that will happen in the near future.
Comparing Pennsylvania casinos to Ohio ones
Pennsylvania is the second largest casino market in terms of revenue behind Nevada. Its casino industry is notably different from the ones in Ohio. There are no game restrictions between casino properties in Pennsylvania. All can have live table games, video poker, and poker rooms. Pennsylvania also has legislated its blackjack and roulette rules. There are no 6:5 blackjack tables in Pennsylvania casinos as that would violate the codified rules.
Pennsylvania casinos are closer together than ones in Ohio. Major cities have more than one place to play blackjack and video poker. Some Pennsylvania casinos have hotels. Only a few have racetracks.
Comparing West Virginia casinos to Ohio ones
The West Virginia and Ohio casino markets are similar. Each has four full-service casinos open to the public. Ohio has seven slot-only racinos, but West Virginia has video gaming all over the state in places like bars and liquor stores. All West Virginia casinos open to the public have a racetrack and all have a hotel. None of the full-service casinos in Ohio have racetracks or hotels. Only the video lottery racinos have tracks. One has a hotel on the property.
Comparing Indiana casinos to Ohio ones
Before there were casinos in Ohio, many players visited Indiana for slots, video poker, live poker, and table games. Indiana casinos are mostly on riverboats, whereas Ohio ones are all land-based. The Indiana casinos that we visited on the same trip to Ohio provided a better value to blackjack and video poker players than Ohio ones, especially at Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg.
The Four Winds Casino in South Bend is the only Indiana one that resembles an Ohio racino. That property has slots and live poker.
Comparing casinos in southern Michigan to Ohio ones
There is a large variety of casinos in southern Michigan. Most offer a better value than ones in Ohio. Firekeepers is one of our favorite casinos. It offers a wide variety of amenities and quality gaming. The smaller tribal casinos in Michigan offer lower limits than Ohio ones. The Detroit casinos are probably most like ones in Ohio. Most Michigan casinos have a hotel.