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Push Is On For Additional Casino In Ohio

Ohio voters finally made the move to approve casino gambling back in 2009. Before voters approved the measure that would bring casinos to Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Toledo, residents had long been against the now popular form of gambling.

Developer Brad Pressman sees no reason why if voters approved four casinos, they would not allow a fifth. Pressman is starting a campaign to get a question placed on the ballot in the November election, asking voters to allow a casino in the Youngstown area of the state. The Northeast section of the state is filled with potential gamblers, according to Pressman.

The unemployment rate in Youngstown could be key to the advancement of a new casino measure. Rick Lertzman is the developer making the push with Pressman, and Lertzman feels that a casino in Youngstown would solve many of the areas economic problems that have arisen since the 2008 economic recession.

"We think the voters of Ohio, as long as you could say, 'Look, we've got huge unemployment problems in Youngstown'...I think the voters are going to be very sympathetic."

Ohio had never been a state that embraced gambling, but like other states that were slow to come around to the idea, Ohio residents have already seen the positives a casino can bring to an area. Thousands of construction jobs have been created through the development of the four approved casinos, and thousands of additional Ohioans have already gained employment to work at one of the casinos.

"These casinos have provided a breath of fresh air for the state," said longtime resident Chase Hanner. "We were in a big mess during the recession, and the casinos helped put a lot of my friends back to work. And that's not even counting the millions of dollars that the casinos are bringing the state for the budget. I have seen nothing bad yet that have come from these casinos, and I would vote to add more."

The developers must collect and turn in 350,000 signatures on a petition to get the casino question on the ballot this year. If they fall short of that requirement, Lertzman said they will make a strong push to have the measure placed on the ballot in 2013.

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