Ohio gambling supporters and opponents clash
COLUMBUS, Ohio: Today, Ohio legislators announced that they were unable to come to an agreement on the governor's proposed electronic slot machines to increase state revenue and thus will pass an interim state budget. Gov. Ted Strickland estimates an increase of $933 million in revenue should the slot machines be accepted. The machines would be placed at seven of the state's horse racing tracks. However, at the same time, opponents announced that they plan to sue if slots make it onto the state budget. Opponents argue that Strickland's plan may in fact be "illegal." David Zanotti, president of the Ohio Roundtable, “My guess is we’ll tie them up in court long enough that they won’t see a penny of the revenue projections."
Late last week, casino supporters submitted twice as many signatures necessary to place a ballot measure that proposes to expand gambling on the November ballot. Supporters of the ballot measure to build four casinos in Ohio submitted more than 850,000 signatures on Friday. According to the secretary of state, supporters, including the Ohio Jobs and Growth Committee, had until July 1 to submit a minimum of 402,000 signatures. All of the signatures must be verified before the proposal can proceed. The measure proposes to add new casinos to Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati and Columbus. The proposed new casinos are estimated to generate $651 million a year in tax revenue.
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Slots debate at an impasse, legislators plan interim budget," June 29,2009
- The Western Star, "Plans for slots, casinos in Ohio gain strength," June 26,2009
- Dayton Business Journal, "Casino backers submit signatures," June 25,2009
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Casino battle brewing on multiple fronts," June 25,2009