A provision in the Senate version of H.B. 386 could lead to gambling in all 88 counties that would benefit charity. Under the proposed legislation, each county could designate a ‘card room’ for charitable poker, blackjack and other card games. Slot machines would not be permitted and the location could not be at a site where slots are offered, such as casinos or racinos. Currently, only Cuyahoga County has a card room.
Unlike with the casinos and horse racing tracks, the state would not receive any revenues from these card rooms. 15% of the revenues from each card room would go to the owner of the location. After other expenses for security, management and dealers are deducted, all net proceeds would go to charity. The charities would vary, but each could sign up for up to 128 hours a year.
The legislation does require paid dealers be licensed by the OCCC, but not the companies that operate the rooms.
Supporters claim this just gives the rest of the state the opportunity to do what Cuyahoga County has been doing successfully for years. Opponents claim this will cut into casino revenues, thereby reducing revenue to the state.
A full Senate vote could come as early as next week.