Ohio Governor Fast-Tracks VLT Regulations

Republican Gov. John Kasich, citing an “emergency” in Ohio, issued an executive order Oct. 14 allowing the Ohio Lottery Commission to adopt regulations governing racetrack video lottery terminals.

Normally the rules would go through a legislative process that could take about four months.

Racetrack VLT legislation passed earlier this year and took effect Oct. 17. For a $50 million license fee and investing $150 million in facilities, each of Ohio’s seven racetracks can install 2,500 gambling devices. The lottery commission has indicated the first machines could be operating early in 2012.

The executive order states the lottery commission requested a determination by Kasich on whether a revenue emergency exists in the state.

“The implementation of VLTs at the earliest opportunity will increase revenue to the Lottery Profits Education Fund, spur economic development, and generate employment and resultant revenue to state and local governments,” Kasich’s order says.

Kasich said the Ohio lottery in fiscal year 2011 produced more than $738 million for the Lottery Profits Education Fund through customary lottery tickets. When fully implemented, racetrack VLTs could produce $14 million in revenue per month for the state, according to estimates.

Still in the works are plans for at least two racetracks to ask the Ohio State Racing Commission for permission to relocate. Penn National Gaming Inc., which is building full-scale casinos in Columbus and Toledo, has said it could generate more revenue for the state if Beulah Park near Columbus and Raceway Park in Toledo move to non-gaming locations in Ohio.

The OSRC has said it wouldn’t entertain license transfers until the VLT law took effect Oct. 17.

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