David Zanotti, head of the Ohio Roundtable, and the Rev. John Temple, pastor of one of the largest congregations in the Mahoning Valley, will join forces on Saturday to debate Dr. Peter Yacobucci of Walsh University and state Rep. Kenneth Carano, D-Austintown, on the issue, "Is Ohio losing by not permitting casino-style gambling?"
The debate will be one of the segments of a community forum on gambling sponsored by Vindy.com and WFMJ-Channel 21 starting at 10 a.m. in the auditorium of Lordstown High School. Lordstown Village is one of the communities selected by the Eastern Shawnee Indian tribe of Oklahoma for a slots casino if the tribe succeeds in its bid for recognition as an Ohio tribe which would give it ancestral rights to land in the state.
The other segment of the forum will be audience participation. Questions to the debaters and comments will be sought.
In the next couple of days, background information on each of the debaters will be posted on this site.
There is an initiative being discussed that would put the question of a constitutional amendment to permit casino-style gambling before the voters in the November general election. As now proposed, the initiative would allow casinos at each of Ohio's seven horse-racing tracks, and two casinos in downtown Cleveland and one in downtown Cincinnati.
The Mahoning Valley would not benefit.
Those pushing the issue need to hear from area residents.