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Ohio legislative committee approves slot bill amendment

TAGs: house of representatitbes, lou blessing, Ohio

Rep-Lou-Blessing

The bill's sponsor Rep. Lou Blessing

A legislative committee in Ohio approved a bill yesterday that addresses slot-like gambling at racetracks, as well as operation in the state’s four casinos. However, the committee did reject a provision that would have provided millions of dollars to a problem gambling fund.

A report by Cleveland.com reveals that broad support was received for changes in the bill including an amendment to keep bingo games open until 2am at charitable gaming facilities, instead of the midnight curfew currently enforced.

The bill, named House Bill 386, will now go up to the entire House of Representatives for a vote next week, and if approved would then go to the Senate for consideration. If the state wants gambling expansion, the bill needs to move along .It’s as simple as – but it has experienced delays due to disagreements over which casino principals would be subject to state background checks.

Rep. Matt Lundy, a Democrat from Elyria supporting the bill, said: “I want to keep things moving forward, I’m concerned about any more delays.”

Although Lundy supported the bill, he did not get enough support to increase funding for gambling addiction treatment, which could eventually be a problem for those wanting gambling expansion. Why? Well, the 2009 Ohio constitutional amendment permits that 2% of casino revenue is to be earmarked for gambling and substance addiction-related programs.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lou Blessing, said he did not support the change because he “didn’t see a need for additional money”. A Republican from Cincinnati, Rep Lou Blessing, however, said the extra revenue could double the money for addiction treatment, even if he did doubt the slots would create so many addicts to justify the extra spending. He’s got a point.

Nevertheless, Democrats on the committee said they were hopeful the issue would come up later in the legislative process and be rectified further down the line.

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