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Ohio Judge Rules in Favor of Racinos

Members of Ohio Roundtable do not have legal standing to bring suit, court decides.

Just as the state’s first racino prepares to open June 1, an Ohio judge has ruled against a group that filed suit challenging the legality of the casinos that fall under auspices of the Ohio Lottery Commission.

In his May 30 decision, Judge Timothy S. Horton of Common Pleas Court ruled that the Ohio Roundtable did not have legal standing to bring the lawsuit against the defendants that included Gov. John Kasich, the Ohio Lottery Commission, and the Ohio Casino Control Commission, among others.

Among claims made by members of the Ohio Roundtable were that they would be harmed by the casinos for various reasons that were rejected by the judge.

“Throughout the pleadings and oral arguments, plaintiffs (Ohio Roundtable) have offered little more than bare assertions of harm or injury," Horton wrote. "Given plaintiffs’ dearth of support, the court questions plaintiffs’ real purpose in bringing these claims.”

Horton said “the judiciary operates within certain boundaries and should not be used wantonly and/or for political purposes or social gain.”

Horton also said the plaintiffs did not prove they would suffer “concrete” injuries different from those of the general public, but even if they had proved that, the court could not redress their injuries.

Prior to Horton’s ruling, representatives for both sides said they would appeal.

Scioto Downs, a harness track in Columbus, is scheduled to open at 2 p.m. on June 1 to offer gaming on 1,800 video lottery terminals that have been installed. The track, which had received a permanent license from the lottery commission to operate the VLTs, is the only one to go ahead and begin offering casino gaming prior to the court ruling. The state’s six other tracks are waiting until the legal issues are resolved.