Age Is Only A Number

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 21, 2009 in General Discussion | 1 Comment >>

In the ever changing landscape of VLT’s, the show never seems to stop. The issues at hand now are not the idea of the money machines pumping life back into the state coffers, but are about gambling age requirements.

Governor Strickland in Ohio was put into one of the newest “catch-22’s” around. Maybe it should be termed the “catch-21.”  Ohio has the lottery at the helm of taking applications and getting the machines in place. The age for making a lottery wager is 18-years-old. The VLT’s are an extension of the lottery, and due to public outcry he has reversed his original decision to make the age 21 to play slots instead of 18….

Why would you raise the age limit? The players that can purchase a lottery ticket, can go to war to defend our country, vote, and do everything except drink alcohol. That is until this past week. The lottery commission has the ability to make and change game rules.  Now, we have a fumble in the red zone. There are already enough holes in the issue to make Swiss cheese look solid, and this is just another round in the fight.

I think the original idea of making the age 18 was a great idea. This would have given Ohio another leg up on the competition, who is locked in at 21-years old. That was the idea after all, wasn’t it? The projections have shown that Ohio will rank behind Nevada and Atlantic City, if all goes as planned. This little hitch keeps people out of the game. They can bet on a horse race and get a lottery ticket, but the one-arm bandits are off limits.

For all I have seen, the idea is starting to take some hits. VLT’s in Ohio must face three pending lawsuits, and then go against a November referendum vote for full-scale casinos in four cities in the state. For what started as an idea to plug the hole in the budget, and save many jobs in racing, now is starting to look like the odds are going up. I hate to entertain the thought, but those who are not educated about the issue, may vote or hold the belief that VLT’s are bad for the state. Just when the unemployment ranks are growing, and families are losing their homes, people still cling to values that will push the state further into the hole. I am not asking Ohioans to abandon their values, but rather look at the bigger picture in these troubled times.