A new opponent to MyOhioNow.com, the force behind Ohio's resort casino ballot issue, has announced itself. No on 6 is spearheaded by former Cincinnati mayor Charlie Luken and funded by Penn National Gaming, owner of the Argosy Casino in nearby Indiana. Of course the Argosy owners are opposed to a casino resort opening in southwestern Ohio. If Vote Yes on Issue 6 is successful, a casino will open within one hour of the Argosy. The Ohio casino will be one hour closer to Columbus, Cleveland, and all of the small towns in Central Ohio.
During my own visits to Indiana casinos, I have counted Ohio license plates in the parking lot. On any given visit, at least 45% of the vehicles have been from Ohio. This competition will not bode well for the Indiana casinos. According to the Columbus Dispatch, No on 6 will base its advertising campaign on the false pretense that an Indian casino opening in Ohio would permit MyOhioNow to eliminate its promised 30% tax. For years, the Federal government has stricken any effort by Indian tribes wishing to acquire lands.
According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, there are no federally recognized Indian tribes in Ohio. The obstacles facing any tribe wishing to relocate to Ohio are many and would take several years, even if they were to be successful. In the unlikely event that an Indian tribe was successful in opening a casino in the future, that event still would not eliminate the 30% tax to Ohio's counties promised by MyOhioNow.com. The simple fact of the matter is that Indian casinos are not subject to the same taxation laws as others.
It is not a faulty assumption
to believe that once one casino has been approved, another may follow with its own ballot issue. In the event of additional casinos opening in Ohio, the 30% tax would reduce to 25%. The Ohio government is playing both sides of the fence. The talking heads continually defend their anti-casino stance as protecting the Ohio citizen from a bad addiction. The fact is, gambling is gambling.
In Ohio, there are several forms of legalized gambling. As recently as August 1, 2008, the Ohio Lottery instituted Keno as a way of generating $73 million per year. This extra money is needed, http://slotoff.com/
according to Governor Ted Strickland when he approved it, as a means to continue funding education in Ohio. Add keno to the other Ohio Lottery games, participation in the multi-state Mega-Millions, Para mutual wagering at horse tracks and county fairs and "charity" bingo, and it is obvious that Ohio has long approved of gambling.
A very simple fact of the matter is a casino resort will result in jobs and revenue for Ohio. Construction workers will have a long-term project. Jobs will be available in a wide array of positions. I don't intend to whitewash the crime aspect. Historically, crime has converged in the large cities with casino gambling. However, I have personally witnessed the good things casinos have brought to small towns. Tunica, MS had the worst economy in the state.
Now, there are new schools and medical facilities. Businesses in Switzerland County, IN have seen increased revenues since the opening of nearby Belterra Casino Resort and Spa. Clinton County, Ohio, the proposed site of the new casino, is facing a loss of at least 6,000 jobs when freight carrier DHL closes its sorting facility in nearby Wilmington. To voters in Ohio, I would say this: study both sides of the issue. There is propaganda everywhere. Research the facts.
Be an informed voter on November 6, 2008.