STATEHOUSE - 

The latest numbers are in and it appears that Ohio’s four casinos did better at the beginning of this year. The casinos revenue increased about 8 percent over the previous quarter and that yielded $68.8 million for our schools and local governments.
 
I am glad that economic conditions in our state are improving and that many businesses, including casinos, are seeing an increase in their revenues. Unfortunately, our schools and local governments would have received $78.7 million this last quarter if we had restricted the amount of the tax reduction that Ohio gives casinos for promotional gaming.
 
The Constitutional Amendment permitting casinos in Ohio did not require Ohio to let casinos deduct promotional gaming from the tax amounts that schools and local governments receive. In fact, after researching the issue more fully, we find that only 6 states allow a promotional gaming deduction like Ohio. Most states apply their gaming tax to all wagers or otherwise restrict promotional gaming deductions.
 
Ohio’s promotional gaming deduction was added to a bill that was passed into law before the impact of such a deduction could be known. Now that we have seen how much this deduction is costing our schools and local governments, the Ohio General Assembly is reviewing a fix for this problem.
 
With a virtual blank check for such promotions, gaming interests in Ohio have spent over $500 million in the little over 2 years since the first Casino opened. How a business chooses to advertise is up to the folks that run the business. However, Ohio taxpayers should not be asked to chip in for the advertisement.
 
People who enjoy going to Ohio gaming establishments have nothing to fear from any such change. Both Rock Gaming and Penn National provide their customers in Michigan and Illinois with promotional gaming incentives, just as they provide incentives to their Ohio patrons. Whether it’s the “overflowing with opportunities to win "Bonu$ Play” in Michigan or the “GUARANTEED FREE SLOTPLAY®” in Illinois, even though Michigan and Illinois tax every dollar of promotional play, the customers don’t go without “free play”.  
 
Senate Bill 140 will limit the amount that casinos and racinos can deduct from the taxes that are due for our schools and local governments. We are looking at amendments to improve the bill and to allow for regulations that prevent Ohio taxpayers from having to pick up the tab for advertising run amuck.
 
We’re proud of what we’ve done to improve Ohio’s economy over the last few years. Senate Bill 140 will go a long way to make sure that our schools and local governments receive the benefits from gaming that they were promised.
 
As always, I would greatly appreciate it if you would contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding any state related matter. You can reach my office at (614) 466-8072 or write me, State Senator Bill Coley, at 1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor, Columbus, OH 43215. 

 
 
 
  
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