Although Ohio Issue 3, which amended the Ohio Constitution to allow for the building of casinos in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Toledo, was approved by voters statewide, it was strongly rejected by voters in central Ohio. Now, local politicians are trying to figure out what they can do to try to prevent the casino from being located in the Columbus Arena District, a new, upscale, family-friendly area located just north of downtown. Today’s Columbus Dispatch has an editorial applauding those efforts.
It will be interesting to see what local leaders do to try to avoid the construction of a casino in the location that the Constitution now identifies as the sole, lawful location for a casino in Columbus. Withhold water and sewer services? Decline to improve roads and infrastructure? Tell the police not to patrol in the vicinity of the casino? Develop new taxing and fee-based ordinances to make operating the casino much less lucrative? Such initiatives, if pursued, seem likely to set up an interesting legal battle between the “home rule” powers of municipalities like Columbus and the effect of an unprecedented state constitutional amendment.