Ohio Racinos could add video poker machines under House budget proposal

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Ohio's seven racinos could edge closer to offering the same amenities as casinos if they can add video poker machines.

The Ohio House added an amendment to allow the machines and several others benefiting the Ohio Lottery Commission in the state's two-year budget, in an attempt to increase lottery profits.

The measures passed the House Tuesday. The Senate will review the budget bill and make more changes before both chambers sign off by June 30. Gov. John Kasich can veto items.

 Currently only video lottery terminals, or slot machines, can be placed in the racinos. The state's four casinos offer video poker and table games.

By law, all lottery profits go to the Ohio Department of Education's Lottery Profits Education Fund. The lottery has deposited $22 billion in that fund since its creation in 1974

The lottery reported record sales of $3 billion for the fiscal year that ended June 30 2016, $167.1 million higher than the prior year. The lottery requested an increase in state funding -- $378.4 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and $381 million for the following fiscal year.

After record year, Ohio Lottery seeks more state money

Here is the summary of lottery amendments made by Republicans.

Citizens for Community Values opposes the measures, saying adding video lottery machines essentially turns the racinos into casinos and expands gambling beyond the casinos approved by voters in 2009.

Conservative activists in 2009 opposed a proposal by Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland in 2009 to legalize slot machines at Ohio's seven horse racetracks to raise revenue. 

The lottery commission in 2010 created new rules governing the operation of video lottery terminals at racetracks, which did not require legislative help or voter approval. 

The lottery commission declined to discuss the proposals, spokeswoman Danielle Frizzi-Babb told Gongwer News Service.