Ohio Columbus Casino Relocation, Issue 2 (May 2010)
Penn National Gaming, Inc., the developer of the casino, agreed to build the casino at the suggested former Delphi Corp. plant, however, in order to change the location an amendment was required. If the proposed change was defeated by voters, Penn National would have retained the right to build the estimated $250 million casino in the Arena District.
|Ohio Issue 2 (May 2010)|
Text of measure
- See also: Ohio Constitution, Article XV, Section 6
The language appeared on the ballot as:
TO CHANGE THE LOCATION OF THE COLUMBUS CASINO FACILITY AUTHROIZED BY PREVIOUS STATEWIDE VOTE
To amend Section 6 of Article XV of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.
This proposed amendment would: Change the location of the Columbus area casino authorized by statewide vote at the November 2009 general election from the area known as “The Arena District” to the site of a former General Motors/Delphi Corp. manufacturing plant. The amendment makes no change regarding any other casino authorized by the previous statewide vote.
If adopted, this amendment shall take effect immediately.
A majority YES vote is required for the amendment to be adopted. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
- See also: Ohio Casino Initiative, Issue 3 (2009)
Issue 3 was approved by voters on November 3, 2009 permitting one casino in Cincinnati, Cleveland Columbus and Toledo. However, Franklin County was the only county to receive a casino in which voters disapproved. According to election results 58% voted "no."
The group Stand Up Columbus began circulating a petition on December 23, 2009 in order to persuade the legislature to introduce a bill to change the approved amendment. The group did not want the new casino to be built in Columbus’s Arena District and wanted to change the location. The group wanted the legislature to propose the change in the next legislative session and wanted a vote on the matter as soon as May 4. Although a petition would not force a public vote on the matter, petition circulators said they hoped signature gathering would persuade lawmakers to touch upon the issue. In addition to the group, The Columbus Dispatch editorial page stated its opposition to a casino being built in the Arena District, arguing that Penn National’s plan was being put into play without any community input. 
Path to the ballot
Supporters of the move argued that the West Side, where the Delphi Corp. auto-parts plant was located, needed the jobs that the casino would create and the current location for the casino may not be appropriate. According to reports, Gov. Ted Strickland and Republican 2010 gubernatorial candidate John Kasich both endorsed the amendment. The issue was also supported by the Ohio Democratic Party and the Ohio Republican Party.
Yes on Issue 2 ad, 4-22-10
- "We cannot stop the casinos from coming, but we can have an impact on where the casino is located," said Rep. Kevin Bacon.
- Sue Collins, a spokesperson for Stand for Columbus, a group in support of the amendment, said, "We look to join arms with Penn National and work to win this campaign locally and across the state. I think the facts are on our side, and we have a good story to tell. This is simply an address change."
- In mid-March 2010 as the supporting campaign kicked off, Ohio AFL-CIO president Joe Rugola said that like 2009, "It's our intention to do everything - focus every energy and resource - to ensure that they do the same thing this spring."
- The Columbus' convention and visitors bureau - Experience Columbus - supported Issue 2. After voting to support the measure, the group said the support was based on "the belief that the community should be able to choose where to build a casino." The group opposed the 2009 casino measure.
- On April 21, 2010 the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police announced their support for Issue 2. In a press release, the organization said, "These are tough economic times for Ohio’s cities and counties. The sooner all four Ohio casinos are underway, the sooner Ohio counties, cities and school districts will begin to see the benefits of hundreds of millions of dollars each year in casino tax revenue."
- In late April 2010 the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors endorsed Issue 2. "The Canton Regional Chamber believes that the Columbus business community knows what is best for Columbus business development, and therefore it supports the Columbus chamber in this effort."
According to the pre-primary campaign finance report, filed on April 21, 2010 "Vote Yes on Issue 2" received $2,419,125.00 in contributions, spent $879,782.08 and had $38,038.57 in in-kind contributions. In total, the campaign reported to have a balance of $1,539,342.92.
Below is a chart that outlines major cash contributions to the "Vote Yes on Issue 2" campaign:
|CD Gaming Ventures, Inc.||$1,031,535.29|
|Nationwide Realty Investors||$505,003.28|
|American Electric Power||$500,000|
|CD Gaming Ventures, Inc.||$400,000|
|Wolfe Enterprises Inc.||$400,000|
According to reports, Vote Yes on Issue 2 was expected to start running ads in Ohio in mid-April 2010. According to supporters the ads message would simply address the proposed change from the Arena District to the former Delphi Automotive site. Additionally, the ad was expected to emphasize that allowing for the factory site to remain vacant would allow it to be redeveloped as a business thus creating jobs.
- In mid-April 2010, supporters launched their first 30-second television ad, called "Columbus Decides." The ad, according to reports, began with a shot of the former General Motors factory where supporters hoped to open the new Columbus casino. The ad went on to state that "over 3,000 construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs" would be created by voting yes on Issue 2.The video can be found here.
There did not appear to be an organized opposition to Issue 2. No submission was made to the Ohio Ballot Board in opposition.
- The Ohio Roundtable was opposed to Issue 2. The organization had been opposed to gambling measures since 1990. Roundtable vice president Rob Walgate said, "People have spoken on this issue. Why should Columbus be given privileges over the other three cities?"
According to the Ohio Campaign Disclosure database no filings were made for "No on Issue 2" as of May 4, 2010. There was organized opposition to Issue 2.
Media editorial positions
- Main article: Endorsements of Ohio ballot measures, 2010
Newspapers in support
- The Columbus Dispatch supported Issue 2. In an editorial, the board said,"Ohioans should vote yes on State Issue 2 in the May 4 primary. This proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution is the simplest ever to appear on the statewide ballot: an address change. But the effect of its passage would be substantial...The amendment would make no other change in the casino plan approved as State Issue 3 in the fall."
- The Plain Dealer supported Issue 2. In an editorial, the board said,"Columbus political and business leaders, virtually unanimously, prefer the GM-Delphi site, and Penn National, bowing to political reality, is on board. Normally, that would be that, but remember: The casino question was decided as an amendment to the Ohio Constitution -- a document that now lists specific tracts of land, identified by county auditors' parcel numbers, as destined for the construction of casinos...As it now stands, the only way for Penn National to drop the arena-area site that the constitution requires is to ask Ohioans to approve a move. And that's all Issue 2 would do."
- The Morning Journal supported Issue 2. "It’s unfortunate the original casino issue passed. Ohio voters should vote for State Issue 2 to help correct a wrong imposed on Columbus," said the editorial board.
- The Findlay Courier supported Issue 2. In an editorial, the board said,"If approved, it would make no other changes to the casino plan. While some may still maintain that casinos aren't good for Ohio, that issue has already been decided. This time around the only matter up for debate is where the Columbus casino should be built. Nearly everyone who cares says the casino should rise in the west. There doesn't appear to be any reason not to give Columbus what it wants. Voters should approve Issue 2."
- The Vindicator supported Issue 2. In an editorial, the board said,"In effect, Ohio voters imposed this casino on Columbus as part of a package deal. The least the voters can now do is give the residents of the Columbus area the last grab at self-determination they will have. Vote yes on Issue 2."
- The Toledo Blade was opposed to Issue 2. In an editorial, the board said,"Issue 2 could open a floodgate of less-desirable changes - reducing the tax on casino revenues, waiving the $50 million license fee, or lowering the promised $250 million minimum investment in facilities - if developers plead poverty in the face of a stagnant state and national economy. Voters can't be expected to stay informed enough to make those choices. That's why we have lawmakers."
The Columbus Dispatch business interest
According to reports, The Columbus Dispatch had a business interest in Issue 2. An Examiner article highlighted the fact Wolfe Enterprises Inc. was a subsidiary of Dispatch Printing Co. Wolfe Enterprises had an approximately 20 percent stake in Arena District development. According to reports, Jon Craig, a former Dispatch reporter said Benjamin Marrison, current editor of the Dispatch, "strives to cover the all news honestly." Craig reported that Marrison said that "Neither the reporters nor the editors have any idea how much, if any, our company or its affiliates contribute toward an issue until it becomes a public record with the Secretary of State’s office." The Columbus Dispatch newspaper gave $400,000 to Vote Yes on Issue 2, according to Craig. The newspaper also announced their endorsement for Issue 2.
Demolition of land begins prior to vote
About a month prior to the statewide vote on Issue 2, Penn National Gaming began demolition plans on April 5, 2010 in the former Delphi auto plant site. According to reports, Penn National owned the land and could sell the land should the measure be defeated by voters in May. Penn National said they were hoping to open the casino as quickly as possible.
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- Wall Street Journal,"Strapped States Find New Virtues in 'Vice'," May 11, 2010
- Casino Gambling Web,"Penn National Moves On With Columbus Casino Plan After Yes Vote," May 7, 2010
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Issue 2 prompts shrugs in most of Ohio," May 2, 2010
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Mixed support in Ohio for Columbus casino issue," May 2, 2010
- Archbold Buckeye,"Two Statewide Issues On Primary Ballot," retrieved April 29, 2010
- WYTV,"Ohio Issue 2 Preview," April 12, 2010
- The Other Paper,"Who is Stand Up Columbus?," April 7, 2010
- The Booster,"Casino campaign must be statewide, with local roots," March 15, 2010
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Ballot board acts on state Issues 1, 2," February 17, 2010
- Columbus Local News,"Supporters of casino relocation must iron out campaign," February 2, 2010
- Associated Press,"Struggling Ohio neighborhood pins hopes on new casino," January 27, 2010
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Casino issue keeps moving:Gambling company that opposed Issue 3 says it won't fight," January 22, 2010
- Associated Press,"Casino Gambling in Ohio Subject to Change," January 20, 2010
- World Magazine,"2010 Preview: Ballot initiatives are a way for citizens to settle an issue directly without state legislatures," January 16, 2010
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Effort to move casino begins: State legislature could go to ballot to force developer to new site," December 10, 2009
- Ohio Secretary of State, "2010 Official Election Results," accessed July 31, 2013
- CasinoGamblingWeb.com,"Voters In Ohio To Decide Location Of Columbus Casino," January 28, 2010
- Associated Press,"Voters deciding on Ohio jobs program, casino site," May 4, 2010
- Business First of Columbus,"Casino vote do-over for Columbus heads to ballot," January 27, 2010
- The Plain Dealer,"Another casino issue on the statewide ballot in Ohio? You bet," January 31, 2010
- WTOL,"Entire state will vote on whether to move Columbus casino," April 22, 2010
- WKYC,"New statewide casino issue on May 4 ballot? You bet," April 27, 2010
- Ohio Secretary of State, "A History of Statewide Issue Votes in Ohio," accessed July 30, 2013
- Ohio Issues Report, "State Issues Ballot Information for the May 4, 2010 Primary Election," accessed July 31, 2013
- The Lantern,"Columbus casino's location to be decided in Tuesday's vote," May 2, 2010
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Campaign on to move casino site", December 27, 2009
- Columbus Business First,"Bills introduced to give Columbus voters say on casino," November 24, 2009
- The Columbus Dispatch,"May vote now set on site for casino," January 28, 2010
- 10TV,"Senate Approves Placing Columbus Casino Location Change On May Ballot," January 26, 2010
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Unions kick off casino vote drive," March 17, 2010
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Casino has backing of visitors bureau," March 18, 2010
- Springfield News Sun,"FOP backs ballot plan to move Columbus casino," April 21, 2010
- WHIOTV.com,"Ohio FOP Supports State Issue 2," April 21, 2010
- CantonRep.com,"Canton chamber endorses state Issue 2," April 24, 2010
- Ohio Campaign Disclosure Database,"VOTE YES ON ISSUE 2," April 21, 2010
- Ohio Campaign Disclosure Database,"Vote Yes on Issue 2: Contributions Received," retrieved May 4, 2010
- Business First of Columbus,"Pitch for Issue 2 ready to hit state airwaves," April 9, 2010
- The Columbus Dispatch,"CAMPAIGN AD WATCH: 'Columbus Decides' - Yes on Issue 2," April 22, 2010
- NBC4i,"FACT CHECK: Yes On Issue 2 Ad," April 21, 2010
- The Ohio Roundtable,"Ohio Gambling Proposal," retrieved March 17, 2010
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Dispatch endorsement: For State Issue 2," March 28, 2010
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Editorial: Yes on State Issue 2 puts Columbus casino where it's most needed," April 25, 2010
- The Plain Dealer,"Editorial: Ohio voters should approve Issue 2 so Columbus can change casino site," April 4, 2010
- The Morning Journal,"OUR VIEW EDITORIAL: Vote ‘yes’ May 4 on State Issues 1 and 2," April 6, 2010
- The Findlay Courier,"Issue 2, Grant law," April 2, 2010
- The Vindicator,"Vote yes on state Issue 2," April 18, 2010
- The Toledo Blade,"Yes on 1, No on 2," April 5, 2010
- Examiner,"Columbus Dispatch editorializes for Issue 2 but fails to reveal business interest in casino move," April 26, 2010
- CasinoGamblingWeb.com,"Penn National Gaming Moves Along With Columbus Casino Plan," April 4, 2010
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Casino operator likes the odds on ballot issue," April 6, 2010
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