No doubt state and local government officials in Ohio were rubbing their hands together in glee earlier this summer, when the money started rolling in from two new gambling casinos. After several years of belt tightening due to budget crunches, the future suddenly looked brighter.
During June, casinos in Cleveland and Toledo raked in nearly $418 million, with some of that earmarked for local and state governments.
But the "take" fell off in July and dropped dramatically last month, to about $350 million. While still a significant source of revenue for government in the Buckeye State, casino gambling has lost a bit of the jackpot appearance it had in the beginning.
Knowledgeable analysts probably were not surprised. The novelty effect of brand-new casinos, with a type of gambling not previously legal in Ohio, has worn off. Quite a few patrons may have tried the wagering tables once, then decided for any number of reasons not to return.
At some point revenue from the Cleveland and Toledo casinos - and from new ones planned for Columbus and Cincinnati - will stabilize. They should be reliable sources of revenue for years to come.
Still, as other states have found, banking on gambling in the long run is risky. Local and state officials should not become addicted to casino revenue by establishing expensive new government programs.