Strickland Reverses Stance On Gambling Amid Budget Crisis

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After years of opposition to the expansion of gambling, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has announced a plan for slots machines at seven horse racing tracks as a way to help balance the budget. Strickland, a Democrat, said Friday that the move would provide $765 million for the two-year budget that starts July 1.

Lawmakers have struggled to fill a gap of roughly $3.2 billion in the spending plan. The slots proposal would not go before state voters, who have rejected gambling proposals four times in the past 20 years. The governor also suggests cuts of $2.43 billion, sparing a plan to continue tuition freezes at state colleges and universities as well as investments in education. An Ohio Poll conducted in April found that six in 10 Ohio voters favor casino-style gambling.