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US – Mass proliferation of slots would have severe consequences for Ohio

By - 4 May 2021

As the Ohio General Assembly pursues an open process to determine the best way to allow sports betting, out-of-state operators are pushing for a mass proliferation of gambling that Spectrum Gaming says is wrong for Ohio. House Bill 65 would allow an estimated 876 locations for underregulated casino-style slot machines, providing unprecedented gambling access to Ohioans. If enacted into law, HB 65 would also drain revenue from education and other state and local programs funded by tax revenues from well-regulated casinos and racinos.

House Bill 65, currently under consideration, would allow an estimated 876 locations for under-regulated casino-style slot machines. This unprecedented gambling access would decrease state and education revenue by millions.

An independent study by Spectrum Gaming Group concludes that a distributed gaming model, as experienced in Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, would result in an increase in casino- style gambling but a decrease in state and education revenue. Under such a system – proposed through HB 65 – customers seeking casino-style slot machines would be drawn to the convenience of nearby underregulated and untaxed operations, which do not share revenue with education and other state programs.

Ohio’s casinos and racinos contribute as much as $343m annually to education through video lottery payments. However, if electronic instant bingo machines are authorized at veterans and fraternal locations, the state could lose millions of dollars of that funding each year. The study also finds these operations have less experience and insufficient ability to uphold the state’s strict regulatory standards to ensure responsible gaming for Ohio.

“Regulated casino gaming upholds the most stringent standards around responsible gaming, fair play and consumer protection,” said Jess Feil, vice president, Government Relations & Gaming Policy Counsel for the American Gaming Association. “Underregulated gaming machines put the most vulnerable at risk, preying on those with problem gambling habits, while undermining and diminishing the economic contributions of the legal, regulated casino gaming industry.”

Instead of the mass proliferation of instant bingo machines in the state, Get Gaming Right Ohio supports a responsible sports betting model with multiple regulated and experienced operators similar to Indiana and Michigan, giving customers access to safe and innovative products that will responsibly produce $50m in state revenues each year. Sports betting should be reserved to operators that have robust licensing and operational standards. With a proven ability to offer real-money sports wagering in a highly regulated environment, this model protects the state from being subject to heavy losses due to unexpected sports results.

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