CINCINNATI - Cincinnati's casino race is getting tighter, while the market shows signs of shrinkage.
New figures from the Indiana Gaming Commission show Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati has pulled to within a few percentage points of the first-place market share held by Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg.
"We've moved several thousand customers from the Indiana casinos to the Horseshoe," said Kevin Kline, general manager of the Horseshoe property downtown. "We've also grown the market in a short period of time."
Hollywood General Manger Todd George did not return a call seeking comment.
Figures reported by the Ohio Casino Control Commission Friday showed Horseshoe Cincinnati generated $19.6 million in May, up 10 percent from the prior month.
Indiana's numbers came out Monday morning.
Hollywood's Lawrenceburg property took the biggest hit in May, with adjusted gross revenue declining 38 percent from one year ago to $21.1 million.
Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun generated $4.8 million for the month, down 36 percent from a year ago.
Belterra Casino Resort & Spa generated $9.3 million in May revenue, down 26 percent from a year ago.
The Greater Cincinnati gambling market produced $54.9 million in total revenue from four casinos in May. That is about $400,000 more than three Southeast Indiana casinos generated one year ago.
It's the third straight month that the four casinos closest to Cincinnati generated more revenue than three casino rivals generated a year ago. But the margin of growth is narrowing. In March, Cincinnati area casinos generated $68.6 million, or 14 percent more than a year ago. In April, the group raked in $59.8 million, a 6 percent increase. May's increase is 8 tenths of a percent.
The market share changes continued in May, with Hollywood ranking first at 38 percent. Horseshoe Cincinnati stands second with a 36 percent share. Belterra is third at 21 percent and Rising Star is last with a 10 percent share.
Kline credited several factors for the market share shift, including Horseshoe's customer service, its destination restaurants and outdoor-concert amenities. Promotions were another factor, including this month's contest in which Horseshoe will send 900 new loyalty card holders to Las Vegas.
"These are programs that ... our competitors haven't been able to offer, don't offer. We believe that's another game changer," he said.