by John Kady
A public policy group in Ohio has formally launched its fight against legislation authorizing racetrack video lottery terminals.
The Ohio Roundtable, which opposes the expansion of gambling, said during a news conference Oct. 21 it has filed legal action to challenge Republican Gov. John Kasich and the Ohio legislature for their approval of legislation authorizing the Ohio Lottery Commission to place VLTs at the state’s seven racetracks.
The suit, filed in a Franklin County court, challenges the constitutionality of the VLT law, which took effect Oct. 17. Kasich in October has signed two executive orders to speed up the regulation process.
The Ohio Roundtable filed a lawsuit two years ago that stopped Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland from putting VLTs at racetracks. The policy group has argued a statewide referendum—a constitutional amendment was passed a few years ago that legalized four full-scale casinos in Ohio—is needed for such action.
Kasich and the Ohio legislature believe that because the Ohio Lottery Commission was established by constitutional amendment, the commission already has the authority to license and operate VLTs.
Meanwhile, the Ohio State Racing Commission now has regulations in place to consider requests for relocations by racetracks. OSRC chairman Robert Schmitz said he expects decisions in that regard to be made within 90 days.