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Casino gambling in Ohio? Don't hold your breath

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published January 13, 2009

Just two months after Ohio voters defeated a ballot measure that would have allowed a $600 million casino resort in southwest Ohio, there are two new proposals for the expansion of gambling that could wind up on the November general election ballot.

But considering that Ohioans have turned thumbs down four times on gambling initiatives since 1990, there is nothing to indicate that this year would be any different. Indeed, Ohio's hypocrisy on the issue of gambling is now well established. We have the state lottery, including the multistate Mega Millions and a whole array of instant tickets, keno, horse racing and bingo.

The only way casino-style gambling will become a reality in Ohio is if Democratic and Republican political leaders, the business community and all the religious organizations join forces in selling the idea.

And since that isn't going to happen — the largest beneficiary of bingo, the Catholic Church, will never support the expansion of gambling — the recent talk about the two casino proposals is just that, talk.

Ohio may be going down the financial tubes, but at least we can say we didn't gamble with our future. (Such hypocrisy seems to strike a chord.)

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