by John Kady
Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has ruled LetOhioVote.org submitted petitions containing more than 300,000 valid signatures, which is enough to place the issue of racetrack video lottery terminals on the November ballot.
If the issue is on the ballot and approved by voters, each of the state’s tracks would be allowed to install about 2,000 VLTs. There are seven tracks in the state, including Beulah Park, River Downs, and Thistledown, which all offer Thoroughbred racing.
The Ohio legislature, at the urging of Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, passed legislation allowing VLTs in June 2009 as part of the state budget, but LetOhioVote.org took it to the Ohio state Supreme Court, contending the issue should be up to a vote of the people.
The court agreed, leading to the petition drive by LetOhioVote.org.
Full-scale casino gambling in Ohio’s four largest cities—Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo—was approved in a November 2009 referendum. All seven tracks are located in or near those four cities.