Best not to gamble on casino revenue

Ohio officials will hedge their bets on state revenue from casino gambling, Gov. John Kasich revealed last week. That is wiser than the attitude adopted in some states, of wishful thinking similar to that of a compulsive gambler.

Four years ago, as the Buckeye State was being primed to accept casino gambling, officials estimated four table gambling venues would bring in as much as $1.9 billion a year for the state.

But Kasich, in outlining his two-year budget proposal last week, included less than $1 billion a year from the casinos in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo.

The new estimate is, in a word, more realistic than pie-in-the-sky claims from a few years ago. It takes into account competition for gamblers, within and outside Ohio. It also factors in lower-than-expected revenue from the three casinos already in operation.

Again, skepticism about gambling revenue is far from widespread. But Kasich and state legislators are wise to assume the state’s “take” from gambling will be less than initially predicted. That will avoid headaches later.