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Ohio Senate Shoots Down Slots

Published: June 29, 2009 2:24 pm ET

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The heady rush of happiness in Ohio racing last week when governor Ted Strickland announced his turnaround support of slots at the state’s seven tracks dissipated over the weekend with an announcement from the governor that the senate had shot down his plan.

Party politics once again took priority over progress, as it had in Kentucky just days earlier, when a similar fate in the state senate ended a slots-at-tracks plan proposed by governor Steve Beshear.

In Ohio, a disappointed Strickland issued a press release announcing the senate’s rejection of his budget plan, which makes completion of the Ohio budget by the statutory deadline of July 1 unlikely.

Blaming the turndown on senate president Bill Harris, democrat Strickland said, “I believe that he and the senate (republican) majority have an obligation to say what taxes they would increase, or what services they would further reduce to balance the budget.”

Harris had indicated the slots-at-tracks bill was in trouble unless it was submitted to the state’s voters, who have rejected expanded gaming four times in recent years. He offered an alternative solution -- that Strickland take the action on his own by using his power to expand the Ohio lottery -- but the governor said that action would not stand the test of financial support adequate to underwrite the hefty upfront assessments necessary to build racinos at the tracks.

(Harness Tracks of America)

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