Report: Deal Close on Racetrack VLTs in Ohio

Ohio racetracks could get VLTs via executive order of the governor.

Video lottery terminals at the seven racetracks in Ohio may be authorized by an executive order from Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, a newspaper reported July 10.

The Columbus Dispatch reported sources said the House of Representatives and Senate could vote on a budget the week of July 13. It would include a projected $900 million a year from racetrack VLTs.

Senate Republicans have balked at approving VLTs via legislation, though some language would need to be approved, the Dispatch reported. An executive order from Strickland would give them political cover.

A deal has been close on several occasions, only to fall through each time.

Strickland last year authorized the Ohio Lottery to implement Keno, which hasn’t produced the revenue some officials expected. The Ohio Lottery would oversee VLTs at tracks under Strickland’s plan.

The racing industry, in private meetings, has been negotiating revenue splits. During Senate hearings, Thoroughbred horsemen said 10% is an acceptable minimum number for purses and breed development; there were reports the tracks were offering 4%, which would be the lowest percentage in the country for horse racing.