On April 25, 2007, the legislators in Columbus are thinking of brand new gambling activities, like slot machines which will not require any amendment to the existing constitution. The new move comes after the state’s voters rejected a plan to expand the gambling activities in Ohio for the third time straight since 1990.
The Companion House and the Senate Bills, which enjoy support from both groups, would permit instant-racing terminals to be featured at the 7 horse racing tracks in Ohio where gamblers can watch and wager on the horse races.
Since the prizes are divided among all of the players and not just given to a single player, instant racing would be a great addition to gambling in the state, according to state Rep. Bill Seitz, a Republican from Cincinnati who is sponsoring the bill.
To those that do not know much about gambling, Seitz explained that the instant racing game looks like a typical slot machine but it does not work like a slot machine. So far, the instant racing game is allowed in 2 states, Arkansas and Oregon, and is currently under review by other states, like California, Virginia, Nebraska and Maryland.
Last fall, over half of the voters in Ohio rejected a proposal supported by an organization of racetrack owners and casino owners that would have permitted video slot machines at the racing tracks and at 2 sites in Cleveland. Seitz commented that he is expecting the Ohio legislation to make a move after they approve the operating budget in June 2007.
State Sen. Steve Stivers, a Republican from Columbus, introduced the proposal in the Senate last month. His proposal is now being discussed before the Senate Finance Committee.
Rob Walgate, the Vice President of the Ohio Roundtable, who has led the criticism of the previous slot proposals, commented that the instant racing game requires the player to stand in front of the machine and wager against it individually, making the game an odds based one, which is permitted without changing the constitution.
The proposal requires part of the profits from the machines to be given to the racing tracks and the health programs for the senior citizens of the state.