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Studies Put Casino Cards on Table
"It’s a watershed day," said Ohio Rep. Bill
Seitz, R-Green Township, who is trying to broker a political compromise
to produce a 2006 ballot initiative legalizing casino gambling in Ohio.
"Previously, we had ideologues on one side
faced off against people whose very cogent arguments could be dismissed
as self-interested," Seitz said. "Now, we have objective folks weighing
in with good data on the question."
The studies, available online at
www.ohiogaminginfo.org, concluded that casinos would create 85,000 new
jobs and generate $610 million in annual tax revenue for state and local
governments. On the down side, the studies found that new casinos in
seven Ohio cities would also increase the number of Ohioans with
gambling problems from 3 percent to 4 percent of the population,
essentially creating 109,000 new problem gamblers.
Where would the casinos go? It’s probably too
early to say, but this week’s events offer data to handicap potential
sites. If the ponies follow the path of least resistance, River Downs,
Monroe and Queensgate would lead the pack on the Ohio side of the river,
while Florence’s Turfway Park and Covington’s western riverfront could
overtake the favorites as they approach the wire.
Seitz said the studies offer a strategic
template for the industry to follow in development of new casinos
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