by John Kady
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland signed into law legislation Oct. 25 banning the use of gaming devices throughout the Buckeye State.
The machines had been installed at a few Ohio racetracks as well as bingo parlors, bars, and clubs after a Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge ruled the machines were games of skill and not games of chance. Strickland had said the devices were basically slot machines and vowed to sign the legislation if it passed the Ohio General Assembly, which it did.
Ohioans last year voted down a referendum that would have permitted video lottery terminals at the state’s seven tracks. Strickland and other legislators believed that vote was a sign the public doesn’t want expanded gambling in the state.
The legislation outlawed all such machines that closely resemble VLTs. Though nowhere near as lucrative as slot machines, the devices return cash prizes. The machines have names such as "Tic Tac Fruit" and "Nudgemaster."
Beulah Park near Columbus had installed the machines in its grandstand cafeteria and clubhouse. River Downs near Cincinnati also had a group of machines in its clubhouse.