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Monday, July 28, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 6/17/2007

A bad bet avoided

MANY qualities, if that's the right word, unite those who would try to foist vices upon unwilling Ohioans. One of the more prominent is the inability to take no for an answer.

This has been a hallmark of the pro-smoking lobby, whose quixotic efforts to overturn massive voter sentiment in favor of the new smoking ban are as desperate as they are futile.

The same might be said for the gaming lobby that looks for all the world as if it has been trying an end-around the will of the voters of this state who, last November, said a resounding no to expanding the reach of gaming by turning down slot machines at racetracks and freestanding casinos in Cleveland.

Gov. Ted Strickland is not deaf to this call for a brake on expanded gambling in the Buckeye State. In a two-pronged move he has both called for legislation to ban cash payouts from what their backers euphemistically call electronic "games of skill," and said he will veto a Senate-passed measure that would permit video horse-racing machines at racetracks.

The governor got to the heart of the matter when he said this is a clear attempt to "circumvent the will of the voters."

The so-called "games of skill" and the video horse races - races taken from a library of 300,000 previously held events - are intended to fool lawmakers and ordinary Ohioans into thinking that somehow these are innocuous fun rather that what they really are: gaming machines.

Time and again, Ohioans have turned aside efforts to allow an insidious growth of legalized gambling in this state. And time and again, pro-gaming forces have attempted to bypass that injunction.

Enough is enough. The economic and social perils of gambling have been exhaustively documented and need not be repeated here. Suffice it to say that gaming is not a panacea for the economic ills of the state or the saving of racetracks.

Gaming interests can call these machines what they will. Governor Strickland, and most Ohioans, see them for what they are.



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