Report: Ohio Tracks Close to Deal on Slots Language

Ohio racetracks and a Cleveland developer are reportedly close to a deal on language for a November referendum on slot machines at the tracks and three non-track locations.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported March 22 the seven tracks--three Thoroughbred and four Standardbred--would have slots, along with two locations in Cleveland and one in Cincinnati. The newspaper said track operators proposed a compromise whereby counties with slots casinos could vote on whether to add table games in four years.

The development company is Forest City Enterprises. Currently, two Ohio tracks are owned by publicly traded gaming companies--Scioto Downs in Columbus is owned by MTR Gaming Group, which owns Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort in West Virginia; and Raceway Park in Toledo is owned by Penn National Gaming Inc., which got the track when it purchased Argosy Casinos.

The newspaper said revenue from gaming would be taxed at 45%, with "small percentages" for purses and gambling addiction programs.
The plan to get the question on the ballot has been in the works for some time.

In previous years, legislative efforts for slots or video lottery terminals were thwarted in part by the pari-mutuel industry's inability to agree on a percentage of revenue for purses.