The mass proliferation of gambling would see Ohio suffer from a decrease in state and education revenue, an independent study conducted by the Spectrum Gaming Group has disclosed.
Although a distributed gaming model – as seen in Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia – would likely increase casino-style gambling, the system, proposed through House Bill 65, would see customers seeking casino-style slot machines drawn to the convenience of nearby underregulated and untaxed operations.
The report added that the system is ‘wrong for Ohio’ as underregulated and untaxed alternatives do not share revenue with education and other state programmes, as opposed to well-regulated casinos and racinos.
Furthermore, House Bill 65 would allow an estimated 876 locations for underregulated casino-style slot machines, providing ‘unprecedented gambling access to Ohioans’.
“Regulated casino gaming upholds the most stringent standards around responsible gaming, fair play and consumer protection,” explained 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.”
Ohio’s casinos and racinos contribute as much as $343 million annually to education through video lottery payments. However, the study pointed out that should electronic instant bingo machines be authorised at veterans and fraternal locations, the state could lose ‘millions of dollars’ of funding each year.
The report also added that these operations have less experience and insufficient ability to uphold the state’s strict regulatory standards to ensure responsible gaming for Ohio.
Offering an alternative system, Get Gaming Right Ohio has pledged its support to 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 $50 million in state revenues annually.