Ohio Lottery vote moves slot proposal forward

COLUMBUS, OH. – Ohio Governor Ted Strickland’s plan to generate revenue for the state by installing video lottery terminals at Ohio horse racing tracks could be on the move again after a vote held this week at the state Lottery Commission.

The commission has voted to withdraw an earlier set of rules governing video slots and approved a new, more generalized set of guidelines.

The main differences in the newly approved guidelines are a minimum age of 21 for slots players, not 18, and provisions that put ownership of the terminals in the hands of selected vendors.

A year ago Governor Strickland unveiled an initiative to install slot machines at tracks statewide to plug a gaping revenue hole in the state’s budget. His initiative was met with mixed feelings but it eventually gained legislative approval.

Before the slot machines could be installed, however, the conservative group LetOhioVote.org convinced the Ohio Supreme Court the slots plan should be subject to a voter referendum, and the proposal was put on ice while the group gathered signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

LetOhioVote ended its push for a referendum several weeks ago, in part because organizers anticipated this week’s action by the Lottery Commission.

It has yet to be decided what share of revenues will go to state coffers after the video lottery slot machines have been installed and start making profit.

source: Business First of Columbus

Published: July 21, 2010

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