Ohio High Court to Hear Racino Challenge

The Ohio Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in a case that challenges the right of Governor John Kasich (l.) to deploy slot machines at the state’s seven racetracks. The Ohio Roundtable has sued to reverse the practice, which it says violated the state constitution.

The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments next week in a trial brought by a group that wants to invalidate the law that allowed the Buckeye State to license the state’s seven racetracks to add slot machines and become racinos.

The suit, brought by the Ohio Roundtable, an organization that opposes gaming, asserts that a vote of the people is required before the Ohio Lottery could be expanded to allow video lottery terminals to be deployed at racetracks. Otherwise, says the suit, the action violates the state constitution.

The state’s attorneys argue that Governor John Kasich acted within the law when he crafted a deal with the legislature that allowed the racinos.

Ohio voters in 2009 authorized casino gaming at the state’s four largest cities, but said nothing about the expansion of the lottery.

Before the high court renders a decision it must first decide whether the Roundtable has status to suit. The Roundtable’s attorneys cite state law that says that citizens may sue “if they are beneficially interested.” According to the attorneys, “And this court, on 13 occasions throughout its history, has defined beneficial interests to include citizens’ interests in the execution of the laws.”

The state argues that the Roundtable has failed to show that its members were injured by the governor’s actions.