Economy incentive in Ohio casino vote

A croupier deals cards on a Black Jack table

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: Analysts are still digesting the results of yesterday's off-off year elections. They've got a couple of governorships, some seats in the House of Representatives and a bunch of statewide ballot measures to chew over. In Ohio, after nearly two decades of saying no to casino gambling, voters have decided to roll the dice. They're going to bring casinos to four cities -- Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo -- to get the economy going. From Cleveland Public Radio, Dan Moulthrop has our story.


DAN MOULTHROP: Voters here have said no four times since 1990. This time, it all came down to money. Well, money and jobs.

AD CLIP: Four casinos will create 34,000 jobs. Keep a billion dollars in Ohio. And construction will begin immediately providing an instant jumpstart to the economy.

Which all sounded pretty good to 53 percent of yesterday's voters in the financially strapped Buckeye State.

One of those voters was Pentecostal Pastor John Coates who had lined up against previous gambling proposals.

JOHN COATES: With there being 11 percent unemployment in our state there is no way that I could look past the 34,000 jobs that this effort would bring to our state.

The jobs were one thing, but casino backers also said Ohioans were taking a billion dollars a year out of the state.

One of those backers is Dan Gilbert, the guy who created Quicken Loans. He also happens to own the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. And so, last night, celebrating the casino issue's victory on the Cav's home court, he reminded supporters why he believes Ohioans supported this proposal.

DAN GILBERT: They wanted casinos in urban cores that would spark development, they wanted jobs, they wanted new construction, they wanted the taxes to stay local, and we're going to make sure it happens here.

After spending $30 million on the campaign, Gilbert and other developers have promised to spend another billion to construct the four casinos. They may still face some hurdles, however. Opposition groups are pushing for one more ballot measure that could force the casinos to face a local referendum in each of the four cities.

In Cleveland, I'm Dan Moulthrop for Marketplace.

About the author

Rico Gagliano is the host of Dinner Party Download.

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