A well-known anti-gambling veteran said last week that he would “sue everybody” tied to a recent deal between Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the developers of two new casinos in Cincinnati and Cleveland.
Kasich and the casino owners, Rock Ohio Ceasars, announced an agreement recently that would have the casinos pay $110 million in addition to a one-time $50 million licensing fee and a 33% casino tax. The pact also increases the company’s investment in the state to $900 million from $500 million.
In exchange, the state would allow casinos to pay the commercial-activity tax based on net casino revenue after winnings. The previous proposal would have taxed casinos on all wagers. The deal also allows for the establishment of thousands of slot machines at the state’s seven horse racing tracks.
The agreement violates Ohio’s constitution in various ways, warned longtime anti-gambling activist David Zanotti, chief executive officer of the conservative group American Policy Roundtable.
“If you’re going to make it up as you go along, if you’re going to play with the constitution, you’re going to be sued all over the place,” Zanotti was quoted as saying in local reports. He said his group would file the lawsuit when the developer makes the payments to the state.
“Casinos come and go but the constitutional rule of law is a reality that remains,” Zanotti wrote on his blog.