State Wants Ohio VLT Lawsuit Dismissed

The attorney general has filed papers challenging a public policy group's actions.

by John Kady

The office of Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine filed papers in Franklin County Common Pleas Court Dec. 9 to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Ohio Roundtable, a group attempting to nullify a law allowing video lottery terminals at the state’s seven racetracks.

The Ohio Roundtable, a conservative anti-gambling organization, filed the suit several weeks ago challenging the legislation after it was signed into law by Republican Gov. John Kasich. The public policy group contends VLTs can’t be installed at racetracks without a statewide vote of the people.

The legislature contended the 2009 constitutional amendment authorizing four full-scale casinos also gives the Ohio Lottery Commission power to expand its offerings in the form of electronic gambling devices. The legislation approved by Kasich permits the lottery commission to name racetrack operators as lottery agents.

Each racetrack would have to pay a $50 million licensing fee before they could be authorized as agents. The tracks would pay the state about 33% of gross revenue like the full-scale casinos currently being built in the state’s four largest cities.

DeWine’s office earlier had set September 2012 as the deadline for a response to the Ohio Roundtable lawsuit, but the latest action is an attempt to speed up the process. Many racetracks in Ohio already have made plans for VLTs but are waiting for resolution of the lawsuit to move forward.