Ohio Group Speaks Out Against Gambling Machine Expansion

Posted By Richard Jones on May 17, 2021

A lobbying coalition of Ohio gaming operators is pushing back on a bill that would expand casino-style slot machines. If successful, it would expand slot machines to over 800 locations across the state.

According to Get Gaming Right Ohio, House Bill 65 would not only massively expand gambling options in the state but would lead to a reduction in programs currently funded with tax revenues generated by the state’s licensed racinos and casinos.

“Ohio’s casinos and racinos contribute as much as $343 million annually to education through video lottery payments,” the group explained in a statement released to Ohio media outlets. “However, if electronic instant bingo machines are authorized at veterans and fraternal locations, the state could lose millions of dollars of that funding each year.”

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

Citing a study by the Spectrum Gaming Group, Get Gaming Right Ohio claims that if Ohio adapts a similar gaming model- favored by states such as Illinois, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia- the state would see an increase in casino-style gambling but would also see a corresponding decrease in state and education revenue.

Get Gaming Right Ohio argued casino-style slot machines wouldn’t share revenue with education and other tax-supported programs.

“Ohio’s casinos and racinos contribute as much as $343 million annually to education through video lottery payments.”

However, if electronic instant bingo machines are authorized at veterans and fraternal locations, the state could lose millions of dollars of that funding each year.”

Get Gaming Right Ohio proposes that in-state gambling machine expansion be regulated by the Ohio Lottery Commission. Betting would then be allowed through lottery terminals such as Keno machines.

Ohio House Bill 65 was introduced on February 3 by Republicans Jeff LaRa (Violet Township) and Adam Holmes (Lima). The bill is part of a long-standing effort among some Ohio legislature members to revise electronic instant bingo.

LEGISLATION AMONG SEVERAL BILLS CURRENTLY UP FOR DEBATE

The push to determine which state entity would regulate an expansion of slot gaming in Ohio is a familiar one. A similar proposal on sports gambling emerged out of the Ohio Senate last week.

On May 6, Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) endorsed Senate Bill 176.  The bill would legalize and regulate different forms of gambling across Ohio. These forms include in-person sports betting, an Ohio Lottery-based sports gambling scheme and “E-bingo” raising monies for charitable organizations.

SB 176 would allow the state to auction 40 sports gambling licenses at $1 million apiece to state-approved gaming operators. “Type A” licenses would be available for Ohio casinos to partner with gambling operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel. The remaining twenty, the so-called “Type B” licenses would go to sportsbooks with physical locations in the state.

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