The Ohio Lottery reported that year-end figures for the new Keno game were significantly short of projections. They were budgeted at $73 million for the year which ended July 31. Total collections, however, were only $30 million - 41% of the estimated amount.
From The Columbus Dispatch, which questions the results in relation to the new video slot machines:
"The video-slots plan will raise $933 million for the current two-year budget, the governor predicts.
About half -- $455 million -- will come from license fees paid by racetracks that install slot machines. The rest, $478 million, is the state's projected share of revenue generated by the slots.
How likely is Ohio to see $478 million? Amanda Wurst, Strickland's spokeswoman, says the governor's slots estimate takes into account the slumping economy. But if the same thing happens to slots revenue that happened with Keno, then slots will generate just $196 million for Ohio, leaving a $282 million hole in the state's 2010-2011 budget.
And even this is contingent on the state winning a lawsuit challenging its right to authorize slot machines without a statewide vote."
This shows that, even with gambling revenue, nothing is guaranteed. So what's next?
The Keno revenue was counted upon to avoid deep cuts in education funding. Now that it's not even half of projections, what decisions will the state have to make regarding education disbursements? Will there end up being cuts to local school systems?
Considering that we will be electing school board members this November, I'd be interested in hearing their thoughts on this on the campaign trail.
And we also have Issue 3 on the ballot in Ohio which would allow casinos in certain cities. Will the lack of projected revenue from Keno have an impact on that vote?