Voters in the US state of Ohio have made their opinions known and have been rewarded with a decision that will see the expansion of gambling in the state. Just over 53 percent of voters who turned out to vote on Issue 3 were in favor. This result means that after twenty years of solid opposition to gambling, the walls have tumbled and four new casinos will be built in Ohio.
Rights to operate casinos with a Las Vegas style have been granted and will be built in Toledo and Cincinnati by Penn National Gambling. Elsewhere, Dan Gilbert, who is the Cleveland Cavaliers owner, has been granted entitlement to build a casino in the cities of Columbus and Cleveland.
The four casinos are scheduled to be completed in just over two years. They are expected to house more than 20,000 slots machines that will generate substantial tax revenue estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars in their initial years of operation. With around 33 percent of that revenue being collected as taxes, it signals a marked improvement in the financial projections for the state, while also boosting employment prospects with the creation of somewhere in the region of 40,000 new jobs.
This is extremely good news as there is a current 10 percent rate of joblessness in Ohio which the construction and running of the casinos will go a long way to alleviating.
While Ohio may be getting set for good times ahead, across the border in Indiana things are not so rosy. Once Ohio’s new casinos are open for business, they expect to lose millions of dollars every year from the absence of Ohio residents who currently cross the border to gamble in their state’s casinos.
The share price in Penn National Gaming increased upon the news of the vote and their casino gaming plans are already underway. All the regular casino games that can be found in casinos in neighbouring states will soon be available in their own establishments. This will give some stiff competition to online gambling done on legal US online casinos once residents no longer need to travel so far to get some live action.
Interestingly, neighbouring Kentucky’s Governor, Steve Beshear has been extremely protective regarding his state’s various gambling interests, resulting in his ongoing attempts to seize 141 Internet gambling website domains. The Ohio vote just backed him into a tighter corner and gambling groups are keenly awaiting his next move.