Nasty, Brutish & Short

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Ohio Urn and Learn

July 13, 2006 12:31 AM

Well!  Things are getting ugly in Ohio politics over the whole casino gambling issue.  For those who haven't been following along, here's the deal.  We do not have legalized casino gambling in Ohio.  We do have race tracks (not that we ever go to the ones in Ohio, nor does anyone else we know), but anyway, we have them.  As happens somewhat regularly, the issue of legalized gambling has come up again.  It is currently unconstitutional in Ohio, per the terms of the rather crappily written and much amended Ohio Constitution.   

So to change things, and get a casino gambling in Ohio, we will have to have a constitutional amendment.  A group has formed to do that, and has put together a good head of steam.  Not, mind you, because of grassroots support, but because of out-of-state gambling interests who want to tap into the Ohio market.  They have formed a grouped called "Ohio Earn and Learn," which has put together a ballot amendment to change the Ohio Constitution to allow casino gambling, and direct a chunk of the proceeds towards education. 

All of which is fine, at least in principle.  We have no objection to fair profits or educational funding from non-traditional sources (i.e. individual taxpayers).

The problem is that the group behind Earn and Learn are the owners of the Argosy Casino in Indiana--a short drive from Cincinnati, and a popular destination.  In order to protect their interests in Indiana, Argosy/Earn and Learn has specifically excluded Cincinnati as one of the locations that will be chosen for slots and/or casinos.  Cincinnati is the only one of the three major cities in Ohio to be excluded this way. 

Some Cincinnatians--NBS included--take exception to out-of-state gambling interests dictating policy in Ohio.  Especially when it will exclude the city we love from the windfall profits associated with having legalized gambling here.  We could use that money for a new jail.  Or to off-set tax breaks!  Or, just to draw people into downtown, to spend money at our terrific restaurants, and revitalize retail shopping. 

But anyway, we don't mean to bore our out of state readers.  This is all merely the background you will need before we start regailing you with amusing tales of hypocracy and outlandish behavior

Stay tuned!