Columbus - The Ohio Roundtable is calling on Governor Ted Strickland to immediately withdraw his plan to expand gambling in Ohio under the auspices of the Ohio Lottery Commission. The Roundtable issued a call to over 10,000 citizens to immediately contact the Governor's office and urge him to repeal his gambling expansion plans. In addition, the President of the Roundtable issued the following statement to the Ohio Media. Statement of David Zanotti, President/CEO, The American Policy Roundtable and The Ohio Roundtable:
"It is with deepest regret that we point out the profound hypocrisy and ill-advised strategy of expanding the Ohio Lottery to include electronic games of chance in bars and social clubs across Ohio. This development, proposed by Governor Strickland is wrong on many levels, including the following:
1) In 1973 the voters of Ohio did not pass a Lottery Amendment with the intention of giving future Governors the right to unlimited, statewide gambling expansion. Ohio voters approved a lottery drawing to help education. Seizing unlimited authority from this amendment breaks trust with the voters and violates the nature of Constitutional law.
2) Voters have three times rejected expanded gambling in Ohio, and twice specifically rejected proposals including electronic slot-type devices.
3) In 2007, the Ohio Legislature passed a bill which Governor Strickland advocated and signed to eliminate electronic gambling devices in Ohio bars and social clubs. Replacing these machines with Lottery run electronic Keno games is hypocritical.
4) The projected $73 million state budget deficit for education is based upon a refusal of the Strickland administration to cut any education funding, including the rate of growth in education spending.
5) Even if education funding were exempt from funding cuts, there is plenty of money in the state rainy day fund to make up the $73 million shortfall - without the need for expanded gambling.
6) Taking the state of Ohio deeper into gambling will increase gambling addictions for Ohio citizens. It is not the proper role of state government to be in the business of creating addicts. Such practices create legal liabilities that will eventually return to haunt Ohio and cost billions in litigation.
7) It is never good public policy to advocate people throwing money away. The state lottery is a tax upon lower income Ohioans and is played and promoted in urban centers. This 'tax on the poor' is the wrong way for the state to raise money.
8) The Governor's plan plays right into the hands of those who want to force expanded gambling upon Ohio voters. Tribal concerns will use this decision to further their claims for casino gambling. Racetrack owners and machine manufacturers will likely pursue legislation and litigation to force Ohioans to accept casino style gambling in spite of three overwhelming defeats at the ballot box. This action breaks trust with the voters of Ohio.
In 2006, Governor Strickland opposed expanded gambling and helped defeat the third attempt to legalize casino style gambling in Ohio. The truth about gambling has not changed simply because someone messed up the state budget." The Roundtable is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy organization founded in 1980. For more information visit APRoundtable.org. - end -