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Ohio Supreme Court Throws Out Roundtable Lawsuit against Gov. Strickland's Slots Plan

The Ohio Supreme Court dismissed the final lawsuit challenging Governor Ted Strickland's plan to install thousands of video slot machines at Ohio's seven-horse racing tracks on October 14th, 2009.

The court dismissed the lawsuit filed in early September 2009 by the Ohio Roundtable, a conservative organization that opposes gaming, because justices already decided in a separate lawsuit that Gov. Strickland's slots plan could be challenged in a state referendum and thus could not yet take effect. The Roundtable group did not seek a voter referendum on the issue.

But the group argued that Gov. Strickland had exceeded his authority by ordering the Ohio Lottery to offer 17,500 slot machines-officially recognized as video lottery terminals-at Ohio seven racing tracks and divide the revenues between the state and the racing tracks. The group wanted the court to dismissed Governor Strickland's slots plan for good.

Instead, Gov. Strickland has set aside the plan and has moved to postponing an income-tax cut as a way of raising money to solve the budget deficit. Strickland spokesperson Amanda Wurst said that that Gov. Strickland wants a court to issue a declaratory decision affirming his power to expand the state lottery into slot machines. But the governor has not gone to court to do so.

Wurst had no reaction to the decision of the state Supreme Court to dismiss the Roundtable lawsuit. Kari B. Hertel, the Roundtable group's lawyer, also downplayed the significance of the court's decision.

Hertel said that this is what they have expected would happen since the statute that they have based their jurisdiction is not in effect. Earlier, the Ohio Christian Alliance withdrew it case challenging the slots plan of Gov. Strickland.


Sunday, 25 October 2009
Darren G. Strachan