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Ohioans OK casino gambling, but Mahoning Valley voters reject state Issue 3

Published: Wed, November 4, 2009 @ 12:10 a.m.

By David Skolnick

Backers of the casino initiative aren’t surprised by the results in the Valley, a spokesman says.

YOUNGSTOWN — Las Vegas-style casinos are finally coming to Ohio, despite the rejection of the statewide issue in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

Though disappointed with the statewide results, Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras, a strong and vocal opponent of the issue, said he’s proud of the unity shown by voters in the Mahoning Valley against the issue.

“I’m happy the Valley residents spoke loud and clear and stood arm-in-arm and voted as a region against this,” said Betras, who opposed the issue because it didn’t include a casino for this area.

“The people of Ohio spoke and Issue 3, despite its many flaws, was passed,” he added.

With 92 percent of the statewide vote counted, the gambling issue was winning 53.08 percent to 46.92 percent, according to unofficial results from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

The measure received 44.39 percent support in Mahoning County, 49.44 percent support in Trumbull, and 38.17 percent in Columbiana.

“Given the degree of opposition in Mahoning County, it’s not terribly unexpected” it was rejected in the three Valley counties, said Bob Tenenbaum, spokesman for the Ohio Jobs & Growth Plan, which backed the ballot issue.

Betras said he’ll contact members of the Valley’s state legislative delegation today to discuss the laws that need to be drafted and passed before the casinos can operate.

“I will urge them to do everything in their power to ensure that the Valley receives all the funding to which we are entitled, inadequate as it may be,” he said.

Four other casino gambling efforts on ballots since 1990 all failed.

Supporters of the casinos spent more than $35 million on their campaign. Opponents spent more than $5 million to fight it.

The money was used for numerous mailings to voters and television commercials, including one from each side made specifically for the Valley.

Valley political leaders and clergy campaigned strongly against the issue to build gambling casinos in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo.

“Whether a candidate or a statewide issue [Tuesday], the Valley said loud and clear you will not ignore us and you will no longer forget us or neglect us,” Betras said.

Supporters of the gambling issue say the casinos would provide about $650 million annually in gross revenue taxes for the state, including $27 million a year for Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

Opponents dispute those numbers. Casino supporters also say the projects would create 34,000 new jobs, including 19,000 construction jobs.



Local results

Ohio voters approved the casino gambling issue, which was, however, defeated in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties. Here are unofficial results with 100 percent of precincts reporting in Mahoning and Trumbull counties and with 98.06 percent of precincts, 101 of 103, reporting in Columbiana County.


Yes: 31,912, 44.39 percent.

No: 39,977, 55.61 percent.


Yes: 31,547, 49.44 percent.

No: 32,258, 50.56 percent.


Yes: 10,768, 38.17 percent.

No: 17,445, 61.83 percent.

Sources: Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties boards of elections


1mstazzone(1 comment)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Betras.
Your so funny... Cry that you dont want casino's in Ohio and are so proud that the valley opposed it and all in the same breath want the monies due to the area once there able to be recieved....They should have put on the ballot that if your county opposed the measure that they wouldnt recieve any of the monies when they were able to be recieved....Trust me , the whole county would have voted for it and all the tears could have been saved and used for something more important ,like the homeless or hungry children...

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2SWEETEDDIE(35 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Right On mstazzone,i could of not said it any better than that.Cry,Cry,CRY Vote NO,than it passes and now its where is my end of the money

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3mick(16 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

just another example of mahoning trumbull and columbiana counties behind on thier thinking you all need to move on and have ideas that will help your counties i see why you are a deprived area you just want to sit back and feel sorry for yourselves!!!! oh yeah have fun at the new casinos whole gambling even though you didnt vote for it ha ha ha

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4andersonathan(687 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

True a prime example of a big baby throwing a fit.

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5dd933(312 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

I kind of agree with Betras, this is just another case of the State of Ohio ignoring the Mahoning Valley - where jobless rates are higher than any other area in the state and we have plenty of gamblers (just check the license plates in the parking lot at Mountaineer on any given day)
The backers of the issue must have known that by even getting 40% of the valley's votes they still would win. Betras knows we are still going to gamble in PA & WVA, it's what we do - let us at least get the benefits from Ohio's gambling industry that we should get.

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6JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

On the contrary it seems like another case of the Valley mentality acting as an impediment to jobs and growth. Mr. Tenenbaum should have finished his statement "it’s not terribly unexpected...but we didn't really care how the Valley voted either way. I mean...let's be honest, sensibility isn't exactly their hallmark."

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7apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

YSUgrad99 is correct, Ohio is too late to the gambling party. The proliferation of gambling is watering down the profits of the entire industry. He's also correct about Strickland selling out for the money Ohio so desperately needs to fulfill all those state pension and health care obligations for the employees. The revenue projections for the casinos are certainly inflated. Gambling is not an industry that you want to build an economy on. It sucks money away from other industries that will suffer.

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8oxyguy4u(1 comment)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Typical Mahoning Valley...Maybe it's time for this area to start being pro-active in place of re-active. The valley will be receiving approx. 27 million dollars to go towards police, fire, schools, etc. This in turn will free up current tax dollars that could be used to start "creating" job opportunities and programs to build this community. This valley needs to learn how to pick themselves up instead of looking to everyone else to do it for them! Kudos to Ohio voters for voting in Issue 3!!

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9adamrovich(6 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

pay per view excutations is the way for ohio to make more money than they would know what to do with.

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10adamrovich(6 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

when the people of this valley learn to get rid of all them thieives that they put into office time and time again this valley will be on it's feet again. look into the back ground of them that you have elected you will see just who you put in office to run your lives.

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11adamrovich(6 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

when the people of this valley learn to get rid of all them and thieives that they put into office time and time again this valley will be on it's feet again. look into the back ground of them that you have elected you will see just who you put in office to run your lives.

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12AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

YSUgrad...wake up and look around you. Casinos are not the only businesses filing for bankruptcy. It is a sign of the economic times.
As for you arguement that the surrounding geography looks like a war zone, I suggest you look at V&M Steel and tell me what businesses followed this great investment and improved the surrounding areas. The casino is one piece in providing jobs, not the complete solution.

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13arteesto(22 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

I am really shocked at the narrowmindedness of the people of the valley in opposing Issue 3.
The thinking of the developers was to take the 4 largest cities to make certain the initiative would pass. Once the casinos in Ohio prove successful and helpful to the state and people of the state...WHICH IT WILL...areas like Youngstown WILL GET A CASINO! Now that Las Vegas Style Casinos are legal in Ohio, the state MUST allow development of a casino in any Ohio city with as simply as allowance by our state govenor and state legislature and a YES vote by the County and City where the casino developer wants to build one.
The large Casino Corporations want to build a Casino in Youngstown. They will find the necessary loophole and pursue and activate it in order to make this a reality.
Shame on you Youngstownites...we have collectively been working on Casino development in Ohio for 20 years now. Now that the door has finally been opened, the people of the Valley reject it!!! That's O.K. I'm hurt, but I'll still get you your casino in the Valley...regardless of your visual casino development limitations.

Pat Mac
casinos for Youngstown and Ohio

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14steelerman09(111 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

The people of Detroit, Michigan were so envious that their residents were travelling to neighboring Windsor to gamble, so they built themselves a casino. How has that worked out for you, Detroit? You are still the worst city in America to live in and still have double digit unemployment. Casino's, as Ohio will see, are not the answers. Also, one of the "selling points" was that the casino's would bring over 34,000 jobs to the state. Simple math will tell you that at least 12% of the employees in the "proposed" Cincinnati casino will come from Kentucky. The one in Toledo will hire Michigan residents, and the one in Cleveland will hire some from Northwest Pennsylvania. Also, the one in Columbus, when built, will most definately bring a staff from either Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or Tunica, Mississippi to start them up and manage them. I am truly suprised that it passed by that large of margin.

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15Level_Headed(30 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

With the decisions made, I think it will be interesting to see how many people from Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana counties head to these casinos. I am willing to place a wager there will be day trips to ALL of these places, and they will be busy constantly.

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16spire417(1 comment)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

I have to crack up at Mahoning County. I live here and voted for it. Why? Maybe because instead of my usual drive to Mountaineer the money I spend gambling here will do something for the destruction in my own back yard.Honestly anybody who lives in Austintown why don't you drive by the corner of Mahoning and Meridian and check out the big Texas Hold-Em tournament sign sign for Our Lady of Hungary on Belle Vista. Do you really think they would waste there time putting on such an event if they weren't going to turn a buck? Come on people get with it. The only ones that should be crying about this passing is Indiana,Kentucky,Pennsylvania and last but not least West Virginia.

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17ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(253 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Betras, he's piece of work. Yeah I'm against you but I'll gladly take your money anyway. What a scumbag.

Regardless, the vote is in. If these four cities wanted a casino, so be it. They can have them. As a resident of this area, I'll always vote against it. People need to realize you can't build or rebuild an area economy on a vice such as gambling. When will the city of Youngstown realize you need to build solid jobs instead?

Hey Youngstown, why don't you focus on Northside hospital? Approximately 1600 WORKING people associated with Forum Health are on the brink of losing their jobs. How's that going to affect the area's economy? I doubt if any of those 1600 will running to the slots if the hospital closes.

Start focusing on what matters. Not quick fixes or pointed fingers.

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18redvert(2239 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Jeff, we don't always agree but you nailed it on your description of the valley mentality.

Steelerman, you stated that some of the employees would come from neighboring states. Well yes, that would make sense. Now since Columbus is not too close to a border, those workers would have to be imported!!! Those dumb casino owners are going to bring in experienced people to manage their new multimillion dollar investments. Of course they are going to do that!

Does anyone know roughly how many eastern Ohio residents travel to Pa. every day to work? Yes even Ohio residents travel across state borders to work!

It is time for our state financial people to travel to the neighboring states to see what they are doing right and wrong in overseeing the dollars generated by their casino operations!

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19Morbidcherub(30 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Who in their right mind would put a casino in the dump that is the Mahoning Valley? Who in their right mind would travel out to that dump of an area to spend money?

Newsflash you clueless wonders - they will put casinos where there are also other things to do. Have you been in Youngstown lately? There isnt anything to do, ever. You can go to a crappy chain restaurant or go to a bar, thats about it. You dont want casinos in Ohio becuase your crappy area wasnt getting one? Boo hoo for you. You shouldnt get a dime. You'll just squander it anyway. What a bunch of selfish people - 'Oh boo hoo, we wont get a casino, so no one should get one!'. Get over it, whiners.

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20redvert(2239 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Adding casinos to Ohio will just dilute the revenue going into the border states. Columbus and Cleveland will see revenue since some of the locals there may not of been traveling to the border states. I have never been to Mountaineer so I do not know how far it is from Ytown but possibly closer than Cleveland will be so the local money may still leave the state.

Glad to see that our local clown is glad the valley voted against casinos but will work hard to get as much money as he can, plus some for the valley!!!

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21AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

YSU...I have been to Greektown and I have frequented surrounding businesses. AGAIN, casinos are one piece of economic development, not the whole solution.

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22andersonathan(687 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Everyone is right in wanting real jobs in the valley. Casino's are not the answer, it is not a economic turn around it may be a economic bump in the areas that they build them. And with out Jobs no one is going to be in a casino spending rent, well some might.

The last thing I want is to be able to walk into a store and have slots at the door their is enough people in the area with their hands out already. As far as the Vally getting a piece of the pie in profits. I can assume then we hope the Casino's do real well. But Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus ,Cincinnati are safe to say growing or are at least stable. Seriously folks take a drive around the area and that is the major reason of not getting one.

If we missed the Casino boat to bad. Can't we work on nailing down permanent jobs at a decent pay.

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23casinofishing(1 comment)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

YSUgrad99 U did a great deal of homework their i am very proud of you. U are correct in it all the casinos are filing for bankruptcy and yes we as americans have oversaturated the market. Indiana is proof of that when they ok ed that race tracks could have slots. they oversaturated the state and now there are at least 3 casinos in that state ready to go belly up. we as ohioans will make sure of that now that we will get casinos here.

one thing, to all of you belittling your neighbors. i did my duty and protected my country for all, and their freedoms and rights including freedom of speech. But to lash out at people because they may have a diffrent view on this is wrong.

I live in Shelby county OHIO, any county that voted for issue 3 or against it has a right to any money coming to them from these casinos. All counties have unfavorable people elected in them.

Sorry if this pisses some people off but the truth hurts. I would also like to thank everyone that voted for me. To get a job at one of these casinos.

Let me explain on how this is going to work. 34,000 jobs is an over estimate. All casinos overhire, then they let go the less experianced ones. which should bring that number down to about half. so not as many jobs as everyone was thinking. alot of the casinos in the neighoring states have workers that live in OHIO so we will get first crack at these jobs because we have experience and we are also Ohioans. so it is about time that ohio gets casinos so we can work here and be closer to our families in Ohio.

But dont think that these jobs will be perment 5 to 10 years down the road it will be time to move to another state with new casinos. until each state truly gets wise on why Las Vegas tares down and rebuilds casinos.

So thanks again and i am looking forward to seeing you in one of these casinos so i can say dealer has blackjack and take your hard earned money. just like i did in Indiana when you played against me there

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24ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(253 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Here's an FYI for those who falsely believe when there's a new construction that local or area companies get the work. I work for a local electrical distributor. We quote large and small jobs. You would be surprised how many out of state contractors bid on local jobs. When there was work being done at the Lordstown GM plant this past summer, a company from Minnesota did a lot of the work. When there was a contruction job in Girard last year, again a company from out of state won the bid. For those who feel this isn't right keep in mind local contractors are doing the same. Many companies from the Youngstown area find work in Texas, Denver, Florida, and so on.

My point is, just because somebody may be building something next to you, don't be naive enough to think that they are from your community. This happens on large and small jobs.

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25casper77(136 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Ohio was played like a fiddle with this casino issue. Why did the power to be picked Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, and Cinn. They knew with their votes it would pass in the state . They are the four biggest cities in the state. it was a bribe for their votes. Now since it was passed, we are finding out the truth on the issue which most of their claims were lies. There is no 35,000 jobs ,no 1 billion dollars to be made for the states in fact it will feed of the lottery, bingos, and other legal games in the state.

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26metrodawg(70 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

casper77 got it right. Everything about this was pre-determined. This state was suckered, big time.

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27redvert(2239 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Well casper and metrodawg, I am sure the valley will turn down any money they may be offered from the casinos. We will show them!!!

casper, you stated that the four casinos would go to the four largest population areas. Now why would you want to put the casinos where the largest populations (potential customers) would be? Gee, they may have something there. The loss in revenue will be to the neighboring states that have been drawing players from Ohio.. That is common sense.

It just amazes me at times!

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28stoutmaster(29 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Somebody, please tell me how they figured 34000 jobs. That's 8500 jobs per site. How many people work at Mountaineer? 300? 400? How many of them are full time?
How many people would it take to build a casino the size comparable to mountaineer, surely not 8000? C'mon people please help me!

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29starofesther(168 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Clean up Mahoning River and make it a place for boats, shopping, entertainment to go with the Covelli Centre...


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30samjudwin(12 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

The stupid people of Mahoning County could not understand the Issue 3 ballot language and voted incorrectly.

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31metrodawg(70 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Hey, redvert, how big a piece of the pie do you think the valley will get? How many jobs?

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32bassboy0809cs(17 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

we should vote no on the issue because it saves farms witch is what we need the most right now

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33commoncents(53 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

David Betras has now drug the Valley down to his level of simple-mindedness. Wow. We should be proud that we all held hands and followed his example while sticking our heads in the sand yet again.

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34candystriper(575 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

...claim the board of election computer voting system is infected with Chicon Malware and ask to have all the ballots tossed out...lol

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