Groups Oppose Legislative Action To Move Columbus Casino

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Efforts to move the Columbus casino from the arena district to the west side of the city now shift to the Ohio legislature. Lawmakers must approve an amendment that would place the issue on the ballot for a statewide vote in May. But not every Ohioan supports legislative action.

The site of the proposed Columbus casino might have changed but opposition to the casino itself continues. Chuck Hootman of Casino Free Columbus said Tuesday on All Sides With Ann Fisher that there’s still no suitable place for a gambling establishment.

“We will still oppose the casino on the west side; we will oppose the casino anywhere in the city of Columbus; Franklin County; there is not a good site for a casino in Columbus; in the state for that matter,” Hootman says.

Voters have already approved the building of casinos in four Ohio cities. But legislative action will be required to move the Columbus casino out of the arena district to the proposed west side location. The public policy group American Roundtable led by Dave Zanotti and headquartered in Strongsville, Ohio continues to be opposed to the legislature’s involvement in the gambling issue. Roundtable Vice President Rob Walgate says the group objects to Columbus receiving preferential treatment from lawmakers.

“As we look at the legislature’s proposal, what they’re doing is giving Columbus the ability to do what the other three cities don’t have the ability to do. They’re giving them a special exemption to move from one location to the other. That’s not what the people voted on,” Walgate says.

Walgate calls the maneuvering a ‘nice little backroom deal’ and says continued legislative tinkering could have been predicted.

“It’s a lot of what we talked about before the election of things that would happen once the amendment was passed that certain people would be given certain rights and privileges and it’s started already,” Walgate says. “The public has not had a say in this process.”

The legislature must finish action on the amendment by the 3rd of February if it’s to place the matter on the ballot for May.

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