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Commissioner proposes slots at the tracks through Lottery

March 13, 2009

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An Ohio racing commissioner says that tracks in the Buckeye State can get slot machines without asking the state’s voters for approval.


Thomas M. Zaino, a former Ohio tax commissioner and now member of the racing commission, said that each track could install 2,000 slot machines, working in cooperation with the Ohio Lottery Commission or the racing commission to administer the machines.


Keno games were installed at the state’s tracks last summer by the Ohio Lottery Commission.


In a separate effort, a plan for casinos in Ohio’s four major cities---Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Toledo---was unveiled recently. Backers of this proposal will seek signatures to put this proposal before voters in November.


Tracks would not get slots in the proposed ballot issue, but three percent of the revenues ($18 million estimated) would go to the racing commission.


Sam Zonak, executive director of the Ohio State Racing Commission, is quoted in the Columbus Dispatch on Friday as saying the ballot issue would not save the state’s ailing horse industry.


A spokesman for Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said that he opposes both the proposal for casinos in the cities and the proposal for slots at the tracks.

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