Ohio Governor Bob Taft

Ohio Governor Bob Taft

Ohio Governor: No Go, Again, on Racetrack Slots

by John Kady

Gov. Bob Taft has again warned the Ohio legislature that he would veto any bill allowing video slot machines at the state's seven commercial racetracks. Taft issued a terse written warning he would veto the bill that would bring in an estimated $500 million for primary and secondary education.

Sen. Louis Blessing, sponsor of the bill, said its defeat would be the "death knell" for horse racing in Ohio. Blessing has contended racetrack gaming would increase the state's contribution to education and allow tracks to offer bigger purses, which in turn would attract a better class of horses.

"I must state again, I will veto (the bill) if it reaches my desk, and will actively work to destroy any effort to override my veto," Taft said.

Taft said he strongly opposes "any attempt " to bring the video slots into Ohio, especially as emergency legislation that would avoid a vote by Ohioans.

Meanwhile, the Columbus Dispatch reported Nov. 21 that supporters of the legislation had contributed $94,000 in campaign funds to members of the legislature over the past year.

Some church groups have voiced opposition to the video slots. The Rev. John Edgar, a superintendent of the Columbus district of the United Methodist Church, called the slots the "crack cocaine" of gambling.

Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in central Ohio have taken a netural stand on the legislation.