The latest draft of legislation from Senate Bill 176 would lead to a massive increase in casino-style gambling machines across Ohio.
The Ohio Select Committee on Gaming has released a substitute version of SB 176, which would authorize an unlimited number of underregulated slot machines in nearly 900 locations across the state. The new gambling venues would not share their revenue with education and other state programs, and would offer unprecedented and unchecked gambling access to Ohio residents, including teenagers.
“Expanded gambling without an appropriate regulatory framework is a bad bet for Ohioans,” said Derek Longmeier, executive director of the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio. “SB 176 does not currently contain the necessary consumer protections to mitigate the harm that will result from introducing e-bingo in Ohio. The bill contains no requirements to ensure the e-bingo staff, whether paid or volunteer, are consistently trained to respond to those experiencing a gambling problem.”
Advocates of regulated and contained gaming remain hopeful that the Ohio Select Committee on Gaming will be open to improvements in SB 176 that will protect consumers and avoid the consequences of an unprecedented expansion of underregulated gambling machines.