by John Kady
Oral arguments on a lawsuit filed to stop the installation of video lottery terminals at Ohio racetracks has been postponed to give interested parties a chance to intervene.
The hearing scheduled for Feb. 21 will now be held March 13. The Franklin County Common Pleas Court will now entertain petitions when it meets Feb. 21 in the suit filed by the Ohio Roundtable, a public policy group that believes a statewide referendum is required for racetrack VLTs.
One organization that will attempt to intervene is Penn National Gaming Inc., which is building two full-scale casinos in Ohio—they were approved by referendum—and also owns two racetracks that plan to relocate to capitalize on VLTs. Bob Tenenbaum, an Ohio-based spokesman for PNGI, said he expects several other racetrack owners to also petition to intervene.
By delaying the oral arguments until March 13, the Ohio Roundtable and the Ohio Attorney General’s office, which is attempting to get the lawsuit dismissed, will have more time to prepare their cases. The attorney general’s office represents the administration of Republican Gov. John Kasich, who signed the racetrack VLT legislation into law in 2011.
One racetrack, Scioto Downs near Columbus, already started construction on a VLT facility in front of its grandstand. MTR Gaming Group, which owns the track, has said it believes the VLT legislation will be upheld.