The House and Senate hammered out their differences and passed Substitute H.B. 386, which will become effective immediately upon Governor Kasich’s signature.
One key sticking point was revenues from VLTs for host communities. Under the agreement reached, six of the seven host communities will get $1 million each of the first two years of operation, half of which must be spent on infrastructure, such as roads. The money will come from the Casino Operator Settlement Fund. After that, the state, track operators and horsemen’s associations will have to reach a memorandum of understanding on how to pay the host communities $500,000 a year. Columbus and Scioto Downs are excluded because the city will be reaping millions from the casino.
Another sticking point was the charity card rooms. No agreement was reached and the language was removed from the bill. This issue will be dealt with later this year, perhaps as part of proposed legislation regulating Internet cafes.
H.B. 386 does place a moratorium on all new Internet cafes through June 30, 2013. And all cafes currently operating must file with the Ohio Attorney General’s office.