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First Casino Gambling, Now Ohio Governor Pushing For Slots

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Voters in the state of Ohio took the first step last November and approved casinos for the first time in the state's history. Now, Governor Ted Strickland and the Ohio Lottery are prepared to push the envelope even farther.

The Ohio Lottery is likely to seek a legal decision on whether or not state-run slot machines at racetracks. On Monday, lottery commissioners will update the rules for video lottery machines. Once that is complete it will be up to the courts to rule on the machines' legality.

Last November, Ohio residents took the bold step of authorizing four casinos in the state. Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Toledo will all have casinos up and running in the next couple of years. Before that vote, Ohio residents had turned away ballot initiatives for casinos several times in the past decade.

"What we are seeing in Ohio is something that takes place in almost every state where casino gambling is legalized," said Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz. "Once the initial approval is given, lawmakers keep pushing to see how much gambling can increase. With each expansion, more tax revenue goes to the state."

Governor Strickland is in favor of the slots at the tracks. The racing industry has been severely hampered by the economic recession throughout the US. Other states have already approved slots for their racetracks with the hope of reviving the hurting industry.

Opponents of the gambling expansion claim that the state constitution's definition of a legal lottery does not include video gambling machines. Governor Strickland has challenged that opinion, and believes the existing laws allow for the machines.

Casino gambling expansion is taking place around the US with astonishing swiftness. In recent years, dozens of states have expanded their gambling laws for the purpose of balancing state budgets.

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