A Senate amendment to HB494 called for three annual payments of $500,000 to Austintown and Dayton for being racino host cities. Governor Kasich has vetoed the amendment. The issue was over where the payments would come from. The amendment called for a 50-50 split of each $500,000 payment, half coming from Penn National Gaming, who operates the racinos and half coming from the track relocation fund. Penn National Gaming argued that this was an additional tax being imposed upon them and that they shouldn’t have to pay another penny. They were of the belief that the entire amount should come from the $150 million they are paying the state over the next 10 years, a fee imposed on Penn National Gaming to relocate horse racing tracks from Toledo and Grove City to Dayton and Austintown respectively.
Governor Kasich stated in his veto message, “The intent of current law is for the State of Ohio to negotiate with racetrack operators to provide an ongoing revenue stream to the local communities in which they are located. Funds for this revenue stream are intended to come from racetrack operations, not the State of Ohio, which this provision would cause to happen. Furthermore, this provision also deviates from the original intent of current law because it would only provide funds to a third of the communities with a racetrack, while effectively leaving other impacted communities deserving of assistance without funding. Moreover, while the language directs the State of Ohio to make payments to select communities, the language lacks the appropriation authority that is constitutionally required in any legislation for the state to make payments. This provision does not meet constitutional standards, violates the intent of current law, and exposes the State of Ohio to litigation. Therefore, this veto is in the public interest.”