The last of Ohio’s four casinos opened a week ago, as Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati welcomed patrons to its new facility on March 4 after previously hosting a “controlled demonstration” for a few hours on February 27. The property began operations with 2,000 slot machines and 116 gaming tables on a 100,000 square foot gaming floor. It features several restaurants, including Jack Binion’s Steak and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.

Hollywood Casino Columbus is the largest of the state’s casinos, at least in terms of the number of slot machines, opening last October with 3,015 slots and 108 tables. In February, the property reduced its slot count to 2,757 and added six more tables. Horseshoe Casino Cleveland made a similar move last November, dropping its slot count from over 2,000 to around 1,850 while increasing tables from 95 to 117. Strength in the table games market will ultimately help the full casinos differentiate themselves from racetrack casinos, which are currently limited to video lottery terminals.

Speaking of the racetracks, Scioto Downs in Columbus remains the only operating VLT casino, but not for long. Three other tracks have been issued temporary licenses by the Ohio Lottery Commission – Thistledown, Lebanon and Northfield. Thistledown is planning for an April opening, followed by Northfield this fall. Lebanon was purchased last year by Churchill Downs and Delaware North, which plan to construct a brand new facility for a 2014 opening.

Two racetracks owned by Penn National Gaming, Beulah Park near Columbus and Raceway Park in Toledo, are up for relocation to avoid direct competition with the company’s casinos in those two markets. The Ohio State Racing Commission is scheduled to hear presentations by Penn National at Tuesday’s meeting this week.

Scioto Downs has performed admirably since its opening last June. Initially, it was the only one of the state’s new casinos where revenues grew monthly throughout the summer, and didn’t falter until Hollywood Casino Columbus opened in October. But it has battled back since then, significantly outperforming its direct competition in terms of win per machine per day.

The Cleveland area will have the most intense competition, as both Thistledown and Northfield share the market with the Horseshoe Casino there. That facility has generated the most monthly gaming revenue to date among the properties which opened last year. It has also dramatically impacted gaming operations at Presque Isle, across the Pennsylvania state line in Erie. Double-digit declines in monthly revenues have not been uncommon at that racetrack casino, which clearly drew from the Cleveland market some 100 miles to its west.