COLUMBUS, OH -- Operators should be allowed to participate in any expanded gambling market by owning and running video lottery devices, industry spokesman David Corey testified on Dec. 13.
Corey is executive vice-president of both the Ohio Coin Machine Association and the Ohio Bowling Center Association. He wore both hats as he appeared before the Ohio House Government and Elections Committee.
Corey testified regarding House Bill 386, which would permit VLTs at Ohio's seven racetracks. Operator-run VLTs in liquor-licensed locations would create 7,000 new jobs and $450 million in new tax revenue, he forecast, citing estimates from the University of Cincinnati Applied Economics Research Institute. | SEE VIDEO
Fairness for the little guy was the theme of Corey's testimony. Small business people who work 70-hour weeks on family-owned businesses will be "out of luck and out of business" if they can't compete with gambling in nearby casinos and racetracks, he said. VLTs in racetracks "will be a death knell [for small operators]," he said. "Don't you think there should be a level playing field?"
The hospitality industry has shrunk drastically since 1995, Corey said. He reported that 300 bowling centers have closed and more than 60% of Ohio operators have exited the business.