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1Jul/10Off

Gambling: Ohio set to install 17,500 Video Slots at race tracks

Ohio residents who frequent one of seven horse tracks supervised by the state's Lottery Commission will soon have a new way to spend their money: feeding the one-armed bandit. Plans to install more than 17,000 video slot machines at the tracks can move forward now that the last of the legal challenges has been dropped.

Ballot issue PAC LetOhioVote.org previously succeeded in collecting enough signatures to force a referendum on the November ballot, challenging the government's plan to install the slot machines, but on Monday the group reversed course and requested that Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner remove the referendum. A threat by Governor Ted Strickland to seek court relief and last year's passage of a constitutional amendment legalizing gambling in the state were cited as reasons for the group's actions.

The fight may not be over though, as a question still remains whether the Ohio Lottery Commission has the constitutional authority to operate video slot machines. According to a letter written to Brunner by LetOhioVote member Tom Brinkman, the group recognizes their best hope to stop the slots resides in the court system.

"We successfully defended Ohioans' referendum rights with our victory in the Ohio Supreme Court last year, and then the voters approved a casino gambling amendment," he wrote. "With our primary goals accomplished, it seems imprudent to proceed with a campaign that can be easily rendered moot by a court decision or new legislation authorizing" slots."

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