State Senator Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township) issued the following statement today, urging the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission to review Ohio's casino monopoly:
“I am calling on the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission to review the casino monopoly provided for in our state's Constitution.
"The casino section in our Constitution is extremely detailed and grants two companies exclusive rights to operate casinos. This provision is worthy of additional scrutiny following the voters’ resounding approval of Issue 2 last November, which prohibits the Ohio Constitution from being used to grant a monopoly.
"Since their operations began in 2012, casinos have failed to provide the tax revenue and job-creation that the people of Ohio were promised. Casino developers built casinos smaller than their initial commitments, resulting in about 40 percent less gaming positions than planned. Operators have insisted that the smaller facilities would not have a negative impacts on the tax revenues that the state collects, but unfortunately, the operator’s statements appear to be wrong.
"Although not required by the constitution, a law was passed which provides that casinos are not required to pay taxes on free play, resulting in less money for our schools and local governments. We have concerns about whether the state can continue to justify this kind of tax break. While these preferential tax-breaks may increase competition between Ohio venues, they have shown little evidence of actually increasing Ohio’s total gaming revenue.”