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Construction Workers Losing Jobs While Ohio Gambling Issue Stalls

Governor John Kasich had the keys to a money-making machine when he took office in Ohio. Former Governor Ted Strickland had overseen the creation of four casinos in the state of Ohio, and Strickland was working diligently to ensure the casinos would open in a timely manner.

Kasich has come in and in less than a year, thrown the future of the Ohio casino industry into a state of confusion. Kasich and the House want higher taxes on the four casinos, and they wish to tax all bets that come in to the casinos. That has made developers weary of furthering their investment.

The result is that Rock Gaming has stopped development of their Cleveland casino. That work stoppage has placed hundreds of construction workers in harms way. Without the casino construction jobs, the workers will likely end up on the increasing unemployment lines in Ohio. The state was already one of the hardest hit by the economic recession in the country.

Kasich, and not Rock Gaming, is catching the heat from Ohio residents. After several denials of casino plans, voters finally approved the casinos in 2009 on the premise that the casinos would bring much needed jobs at a time when the economy was in the dumps. With the work stoppage, it appears that business model has failed.

"The governor knew we needed these jobs in the city," said Walt Sumone. "To threaten all of these families of the construction workers for a few extra bucks is insane. Even if it it a better deal for the state, we should all abide by the plan we voted on. I don't like what's going on, and I know some of my friends who are out of work now feel the same way."

Kasich has seen his approval rate drop since he took office. The proposed plan to tax all bets in the four Ohio casinos is one that no other state in the country has implemented. The tax rate for Ohio, even before any further changes, is one of the highest in the nation at thirty-three percent.

While construction has stopped on the Cleveland casino, Rock Gaming has also announced that the opening of their Cincinnati casino has been delayed until 2013. It was originally expected that the casino would be open by late next year.

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