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New plan for 4 casinos in Ohio

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March 12, 2009

The November ballot may include a measure for four resort-style casinos in Ohio. and Penn National Gaming Inc. are working together on the proposal to build casinos in Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati.

This will be fifth time in 20 years that a casino measure will be on the ballot. Ohio voters have rejected four previous measures.

The proposal would allow the four casinos to operate 24 hours daily with table games and a minimum of 5,000 gaming machines. In return each casino would pay a $50 million licensing fee and 33 percent state tax on all receipts. Organizers point out it would create thousands of jobs in each city.

Gov. Ted Strickland has opposed expanding gambling, but recently said he would consider new proposals since the state's budget is in a dire situation.

Penn National spokesman Richard Land says his company is aware of Ohio voters' unwillingness to allow casinos in the state. "We would need to demonstrate that the state and its communities would benefit in terms of revenue, economic development and job creation," he said. "We would need to present a proposal that voters will understand and support."

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