Ohio voters have spoken and (unfortunately) have approved Issue 3 with a 53 percent majority. Interestingly, voters in two of the casino locations — Cleveland and Cincinnati — voted heavily in favor of the casinos, whereas voters in the Columbus area, where a third casino would be built, rejected the measure.
As seems always to be the case these days, however, the Issue 3 story is not over. State leaders and other Ohio casino opponents now will consider whether to challenge the constitutional amendment in court, or try to regulate the process so that the casinos are put out to bid, the tax structure for the casinos are modified to be more advantageous to the state, or other changes get made. If the linked article is any indication, there may we be another casino-related constitutional amendment on the ballot in the next state-wide election. (In the meantime, we will, thankfully, finally get a break from Mary Ellen Withrow, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the other incessant pro-Issue 3 TV and radio commercials that have dominated the Ohio airwaves for weeks.)
I can understand why many Ohio voters have favored the casino issue. The state is in the grips of a recession, and casino advocates sold the measure as one that would create thousands of jobs and raise hundreds of millions in tax revenue. If the casinos do, in fact, get built, I hope that people pay very close attention to whether the casinos actually deliver everything they have promised and hold them to account. Frankly, I am skeptical of the promises.