April 23, 2014

Ohio Sunday Papers – Casinos: State Newspapers No Likey

Ohio’s Friday Morning Papers May Have Clarification from Gov. Strickland on Casino Gambling, Lottery

The Youngstown Vindicator tonight is teasing a story set for Friday’s edition which seems to indicate there will be no expansion of the state lottery or easing of restrictions on casino gambling in the upcoming state budget:

COLUMBUS — Gov. Ted Strickland told reporters he hopes the coming two-year operating budget can be developed without turning to expanded taxes or gambling as means of generating additional revenue.

Asked whether his biennial budget, to be presented to lawmakers in coming weeks, will include funds from expanded casino gaming or lottery proceeds, the governor replied, “I anticipate that there will not be provisions of that nature.”

He added, “I am working as best I can, and it’s not a complete document yet, but I am working as best I can to craft a budget that will not have expanded gambling as a part of it.”

Strickland answered Statehouse reporters’ questions today about a perceived softening in his stance on expanded gambling.

Strickland was cornered by several reporters after a speaking engagement at an event today to honor the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  It looks like the some of the questions were about whether state leaders are looking to gambling revenue as some sort of quick fix to the state’s budget problems.

If restrictions were lifted in some measure on casino gambling in Ohio, I would hope it would be a stand-alone bill, fully deliberated through a committee process.  It’s bad enough we have term-tarded state legislators who aren’t in their jobs long enough to immerse themselves in issues or the operations of the government they lord over.  A big decision like that which may be made on gambling is a long-view thing that shouldn’t be rushed as part of what will be an already tense budget negotiation due to a weak economy and its effect on state receipts.

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