Buckeye Bonanza

by Ed Meyer

posted on March 22, 2009 in News | No Comments >>

The Ohio State Racing Commission wants to put 14,000 slot machines at Ohio’s seven racetracks — including Lebanon Raceway in Warren County — to save the struggling horse-racing industry and provide millions of dollars for schools.

After voting for the plan on Thursday, March 19th, the commission began trying to win statehouse support.

That could be a tough sell.

Gov. Ted Strickland “doesn’t think it’s the right approach for Ohio,” said Amanda Wurst, Strickland’s spokeswoman.

But Rep. Clayton Luckie, D-Dayton, said, “I’ll look at any proposal that looks at trying to (provide) more money for schools.”

Commission member Tom Zaino said the legislature can enact the plan without a vote of the people.

The commission acted a week after Penn National Gaming and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert announced plans to put an issue on the Nov. 3rd ballot to allow casinos in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo. Once the ballot language is approved, casino backers have until July 1 to gather 402,275 valid signatures.