The defeat of Issue 6 last week adds yet another failed Casino gaming measure onto an ever growing pile of losing attempts. To the Ohio Legislators who stood against this and every other push for gambling in this state, yet stand behind the Ohio Lottery (including the move last year for the first time to have drawings on Sundays) how about this, you guys do it.
Open “The Ohio Lottery Casino.” The state runs it, the state keeps the profits and distributes them as the state sees fit. (I’ve seen next years budget – by your own admission you could use the money.) The reality is this, whether you like it or not the people of Ohio continue to take their money out of state to gamble in Erie, Niagara Falls, Windsor, West Virginia, why not keep that money here in-state and let the state set the place up on their terms.
I’m not a gambler and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone to a casino to drop a roll of quarters but I am someone who has studied the casino industry for 18-years. I worked in Atlantic City in the early 90’s and I covered the industry extensively. The mistakes Atlantic City (and some of the early riverboat casinos elsewhere) made are legendary but equally impressive are the efforts they have undertaken to correct them. I also worked in New York State in 2002 and covered the historic compact entered into by the State and the Seneca Nation of Indians for Indian Gaming in Western New York.
I can recite louder than the loudest of casino-opponents the downside of casino gaming. My glasses are anything but rose colored but I will also say you really don’t have to look that hard to see how to do it right. On a small scale look at the charity poker tournaments in the Flats that have been going on for what four summers now? Any problems? If I didn’t mention it did you even think they still held them? No, it has peacefully co-existed with the remaining businesses down there and helps to draw people to the Flats and raise money for charity.
So state of Ohio do it. Create two or three stand alone “Ohio State Lottery Casinos.” Make them facilities that offer gaming but minimal food or drink. Force people to the restaurants and hotels in the immediate area. They don’t have to be decked out in Las Vegas glitz, they do have to offer an in-state alternative to what Ohio residents are finding just over our borders.
Just throwing it out there.