Ohio officials aren’t sure yet how big the jackpot will be when tax revenues start pouring in from several casinos opening in May. But the state is already counting on hundreds of millions of dollars from the new gambling houses located in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo, the Columbus Dispatch
The newspaper said the state estimated three years ago tax receipts would total at least $643 million annually, beginning in 2014. But since then, lawmakers have authorized electronic slot machines as well at seven horse racing tracks statewide.
Larry Long, executive director of the County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio, told the Dispatch most local governments are not planning on spending the anticipated windfalls immediately. He says they’re worried state lawmakers may decide to cut other funding streams as cities and counties start collecting their share of casino revenues.
Ohio is also counting on casino licensing fees, expected to total about $200 million, to fund regional job-training programs.
In addition, the state’s Board of Regents is counting on $24 million of the gambling pie to fund a network of internships and a cooperative education program. Another $5 million is earmarked for a Wright State University initiative to expand Ohio’s aerospace and defense workforce.
According to the Dispatch, Gov. John Kasich was also able to negotiate another $220 million in fees over 10 years from Penn National Gaming and Rock Ohio Caesars, which will end up in the state’s general fund.
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