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Ohio casino ballot measure defeated

Dec 2, 2008 5:04 PM

by Ray Poirier | Unemployment is growing rapidly in Ohio where so many jobs are related directly or indirectly to the slumping auto industry. Travelers arriving at Cleveland Airport, for instance, are greeted by a huge Ford plant that provided castings for the automaker. The plant is now closed.

For this reason, many of those affected have been critical of the state’s political leadership that has been firmly against gambling expansion.

"We need jobs," said one auto worker who faces a six-week layoff just at the beginning of this Christmas season.

"We supported the casino referendum only because we felt that it would lead to the development of more casinos that would bring jobs to the state," he said, adding that he felt the politicians were short-changing the state’s workers.

The casino ballot measure was defeated.

On Monday, a state representative from Cincinnati said he planned to introduce legislation that would permit casinos or at least slot machines at the state’s seven racetracks.

Republican Rep. Louis Blessing said his primary concern was to save the state’s racetracks that have been hard hit in recent months.

"Ohio is losing too much money to out-of-state gambling interests," he said, adding that he hoped to have another referendum ready for the November, 2009, ballot.