Voters in struggling Ohio back four urban casinos

Ohio voters hit hard by the economic downturn have approved casinos on the fifth try by gambling supporters in the past
two decades.

Tuesday’s vote is a significant victory for Penn National Gaming Inc. and Cleveland Cavaliers owner
Dan Gilbert. They spent nearly $35 million to promote four casinos in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo.

Unemployment in Ohio has topped 10 percent. A study commissioned by the campaign predicted nearly 40,000 jobs and $4 billion
in economic impact from the casinos.

Voters approved amending the Ohio Constitution with details on where casinos
could be built and how to distribute generated tax revenues to various agencies.

With 91 percent of precincts reporting,
the question passed 53 percent to 47 percent.

The approval is likely bad news for Indiana’s already struggling
gambling industry.

Southeast Indiana casinos—Grand Victoria in Rising Sun, Belterra near Vevay and Hollywood
in Lawrenceburg—could lose up to 38 percent of their admissions to new competitors in Ohio, costing the state up to
$86 million in wagering tax revenue, according to an estimate from Indiana’s Legislative Services Agency.

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