Ohio Now Has Gambling Regulations After Lawmakers' Compromise
This is all new to lawmakers in the state of Ohio. How to deal with casino gambling issues is something the state has never had to deal with. Until now. Lawmakers have been locked in a heated battle for several months over regulations for four new casinos, but late this past week a compromise was reached.
At stake was millions of dollars for neighborhoods surrounding the casinos. Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo all won the right to open new casinos several years ago when voters reversed a long-standing prohibition against casino gambling in the state.
In the aftermath of that vote, lawmakers were left with the task of setting up the regulations for those casinos. The bill passed on Thursday calls for oversight for not only the casinos, but also the horse tracks and bingo parlors that will be permitted to offer video-lottery terminal gambling moving forward. It was a bill that took months of debate and preparation to complete.
"It's going to make gaming in this state rational," said Representative Lou Blessing. "It will be controlled, regulated. People will know the rules."
The regulations will ensure that gamblers will get a fair shake every time they step foot in a casino or race track. The business end of the bill has to deal with how the tax revenue from the gaming will be distributed. After two years, the state would possibly allocate $500,000 annually to the communities where the casinos are located. There is no guarantee that funding would be approved.
Governor John Kasich has been tough with the developers of the casinos since he took office. Rock Gaming, owned by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, and Penn National Gaming, have both reworked their deal with the state since Kasich took office.
Penn National will operate casinos in Columbus and Toledo, while Rock Gaming holds the rights to the casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati. The Cleveland casino opened to thousands of gamblers last week, and the Toledo gaming facility is set to do the same this coming Tuesday.
May 26, 2012
Posted By April Gardner
Staff Editor, CasinoGamblingWeb.com