Ohio Will Vote on Casino Ballot Initiative on November 4

Ohio Will Vote on Casino Ballot Initiative on November 4

On September 25, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Bruner certified that MyOhioNow.com had gathered enough signatures to place Issue 6 on the ballot. Penn National Gaming had attempted to invalidate the signatures because MyOhioNow.com, the Issue 6 proponent, had failed to file forms with the state until April. Since the petition has been certified, Issue 6 will appear on the ballot. A plain language summary of Issue 6 can be found here.

Issue 6 would authorize a $600 million casino resort near Wilmington in southwest Ohio. The resort would include a 1,500 room hotel, conference facilities, a golf course, and restaurants as well as table games and slot machines. MyOhioNow.com says that Issue 6 would create roughly 5,000 jobs with an average salary of $34,000. Since Wilmington will be losing as many as 9,000 jobs due to the DHL closure, the casino could bring welcome relief to the local economy. Issue 6 proposes a 30% tax rate, with tax proceeds being divided among all 88 counties in Ohio.

Opposition to Issue 6 comes from three major sources. The first is “Vote No Casinos,” led by the Ohio Roundtable, an anti-gambling interest group which has opposed every gaming measure proposed in the last two decades on moral grounds. “No On 6” is the newest contender against Issue 6 and is led by Penn National Gaming, a rival casino group that controls Toledo Raceway Park and Argosy Casino. Argosy Casino is just 40 miles from the site of the proposed Ohio casino, and Penn National Gaming could stand to lose a substantial amount of business if Ohio casino-goers had an option to gamble closer to home. Penn National has stated that it is opposing Issue 6 because the measure would grant a casino monopoly and could provide a loophole for taxes if an Indian casino were opened in Ohio. The last source of opposition is a coalition of church leaders with plans to speak to their congregations about Issue 5, the payday lending ballot measure, and Issue 6.

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