The state of Ohio’s 7 horse racing tracks have fulfilled an application for video slot machines but only two racing tracks have submitted $13 million initial payments for gaming licenses. The Raceway Park in Toledo and Northfield Park in the northeastern portion of Ohio paid on time on September 15th, 2009.
The Ohio Lottery Commission said that the other five racing tracks face late fees of $100,000 per day. Lottery officials stated that the remaining racing tracks still intend to make their 1st installments toward the $65 million licenses, although legal challenges have made attracting investors difficult.
The lottery plans to have slot machines operating at racing tracks by May 2010. Three separate lawsuits have been filed against the slots plan of Governor Ted Strickland to permit racing track slot machines to help improve the state budget.
For the 2-year budget that started July 1st, Ohio is banking on generating $933 million from the licensing costs and half of the revenue from 17,500 slot machines. Opponents said that the missed deadline, combined with the lawsuits and other issues, adds to the concerns about decision of the state and ability to use the machines to raise the additional revenue needed by the state.
State Representative Ron Armstutz (Republican-Wooster) said that they are off to a questionable start with the slot machines. Armstutz is a part of the group that is challenging the plan in court. A poll shows that sixty percent of Ohio voters support the decision of the state government to install slot machines at racing tracks, with thirty-four percent opposed to the idea.
The survey of 1,074 made by the Quinnipiac University was made between September 10th, 2009 and September 13th, 2009. The margin of error is + or – 3 percentage points. Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, is pushing a ballot referendum that would allow the construction of casino facilities in 4 Ohio cities. He does not think that the racing track slot machines will hurt the casino business.