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League of Women Voters of Ohio
Proposed Constitutional Amendment - Gambling and college scholarships - Learn & Earn
State of Ohio
Proposed by Initiative Petition - A majority yes vote is necessary for passage
Index of all Issues
|Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text|
To adopt Section 12 of Article XV of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.
This amendment to the Constitution would:
Permit up to 31,500 slot machines at seven horse racing tracks and at two Cleveland non-track locations. Permit expanded gaming in the four Cuyahoga County locations if approved by the county's voters. Distribute the revenues as follows: 55% to the slot and casino owners and operators. 30% to the Board of Regents for college scholarships and grants to eligible students and administration of the program. The remaining revenues to be divided among local governments, race tracks for purse money, gambling addiction services, and The administration of the Gaming Integrity Commission comprised of five members appointed by the governor and the majority legislative leaders. The moneys provided by this amendment are to supplement and not supplant existing and future constitutional obligations to post-secondary education and local governments.
Arguments for passage:
Arguments against passage:
News and Analysis|
|Arguments For Issue 3||Arguments Against Issue 3|
|Explanation and Argument in Support of Issue 3
A "yes" vote on Issue 3 would provide thousands of Ohio's hard-working high school students with scholarships to Ohio's colleges and universities. All students will be eligible to earn these scholarships, which would be funded from the proceeds of expanded gambling--slot machines--at the seven commercial horse racing tracks, and at two carefully specified locations in Cleveland's entertainment district. Issue 3 would also provide new funds for economic development and job creation for communities throughout Ohio.
Unlike the proceeds from the lottery, Learn and Earn scholarship funds would be free from control of politicians who now simply reduce education's general revenue funds by the amount of lottery proceeds. Issue 3 expressly prohibits the reduction of such funds by providing that the money generated for scholarships and local communities' economic development will supplement, not supplant, monies currently appropriated for these purposes. The scholarship monies will be placed in individual accounts for Ohio's primary and secondary school students under the direct control of the Ohio Board of Regents. The legislature will be powerless to divert this money for politicians' pet projects.
Under Issue 3, the locations and number of slot machines would be strictly limited, and would be regulated by the new Gaming Integrity Commission, which will operate without general revenue tax dollars.
Each year, Ohioans spend billions of dollars on gaming entertainment in neighboring states and Canada. This amendment will help keep that money in Ohio for the benefit of Ohio and its children. Money now spent by Ohioans on gaming in Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, and Canada (and soon, Pennsylvania), benefits the residents of those places. The money spent by Ohioans on this form of entertainment should benefit Ohioans, not out-of-state interests.
Vote Yes for Ohio's Children. Vote yes on Issue 3.
Submitted by: Ohio Learn and Earn Committee, J. Gregg Haught, David L. Hopcraft and Linda J. Siefkas.
|PROTECT OHIO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES -- VOTE "NO" on ISSUE 3
Please Vote NO on the Learn and Earn Casino Gambling Amendment.
This dishonest plan, filled with loopholes, will not deliver the benefits promised.
A handful of casino developers want to use your Constitution for their personal gain, but it will ruin lives.
Why so many are voting NO on Issue 3:
Learn and Earn Casinos will create at least 109,000 NEW gambling addicts, ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of families. Remember the Lottery? It didn't save Ohio public schools. Learn and Earn Casinos are a bad deal for students, parents, and colleges. Learn and Earn creates a private monopoly for a handful of casino owners. Gambling proceeds are exempted from state and local taxes. Learn and Earn Casinos will place NO money in the Ohio General Revenue Fund- not one dollar for the State Treasury. Issue 3 will not stop Ohioans from traveling to gamble but will grant licenses to out-of state operators and drain more dollars from Ohio. Ohio casinos will drain $2 billion from the local economy costing Ohio jobs. Learn and Earn LOOPHOLES will leave thousands of students without scholarships. There are no guarantees on how much scholarships will be worth or when they will be paid. Only the top 5% of students will qualify for tuition grants which disappear after 12 years. Learn and Earn will push Ohio into a Class III gambling state making it easier for tribal casinos to open in Ohio. Community leaders, elected officials and many Ohio newspapers are urging a "NO" vote on Learn and Earn's gambling casinos. Don't gamble away Ohio's future. Protect Ohio's families and children.
Vote NO on ISSUE 3.
The Vote NO Casinos Committee State Auditor Betty Montgomery, Co-Chair David Zanotti, President, The Ohio Roundtable, Co-Chair
|Full Text of Issue 3|
|State Issue 3: Full Text of Amendment
Be it resolved by the people of the State of Ohio, that the Constitution of the State of Ohio be amended by adopting Section 12 of Article XV, to read as follows:
"For the purpose of inspiring students to aspire to college at an early age, to improve students' academic preparation, and to make college affordable for students and their families, the Ohio Board of Regents shall award undergraduate higher education scholarships and tuition grants for United States citizens who are residents of this state commencing with the first high school class graduating two years following the approval of this amendment. Eligibility criteria for such scholarships and grants, and the amounts, shall be established solely by the Ohio Board of Regents. Such scholarships and grants shall include only the following:
(A) Individual learn and earn scholarship accounts for current and future students who, prior to enrolling in college, take core and advanced academic courses, participate in college readiness programs, assessment, and testing at any accredited public or non-public high school in this state, and contribute to public life through voluntary civic activity, and who attend any public or independent not-for-profit institution of higher education authorized by the Ohio Board of Regents and that has its principal office within this state.
(B) For the first twelve such high school graduating classes, uniform tuition grants, in an amount not to exceed the average undergraduate tuition charged by Ohio public universities, shall be awarded to the top five percent of students at each accredited public and non-public high school who attend any public or independent not-for-profit institution of higher education authorized by the Ohio Board of Regents and that has its principal office within this state. Such tuition grants shall be based solely on academic merit.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, slot machines shall be permitted at the seven permitted commercial horse racing tracks, and at two locations each fronting on the existing main channel of the Cuyahoga River in the City of Cleveland, one on the west bank within the area generally known as the Nautica Entertainment Complex and with frontage of approximately 1,430 feet in length, extending 560 feet to the northwest and 870 feet to the southeast of the intersection of the center line of vacated Main Avenue and the Cuyahoga River, and one on the east bank within the area generally known as Tower City and starting at the northeast corner of West Third Street, where it meets the east bank of the Cuyahoga River and extending north and west along the east bank of the Cuyahoga River for not more than 1,700 feet and having a depth of not more than 460 feet from the east bank of the Cuyahoga River. The games authorized in this section shall be conducted only at the locations authorized herein, and, in the discretion of the facility owner, may be conducted twenty-four hours each day. No more than three thousand five hundred such devices may be operated at any one facility, except that facilities located within the same county may, by agreement, provide for the transfer of such devices between such facilities, provided that no more than four thousand such devices may be operated at a facility not located at a permitted commercial horse racing track. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to authorize live games associated with casinos, including, but not limited to roulette, card games, and dice games, except that such games may be conducted at the non-track facilities and at the facilities located at a permitted commercial horse racing track situated wholly or partially within Cuyahoga County if the voters of Cuyahoga County approve the conduct of such additional games by a majority vote. No such vote may be conducted prior to the fourth general election following the approval of this amendment.
Thirty percent of gross slot machine revenue shall be paid to the state and shall be used, without necessity of appropriation by the General Assembly, notwithstanding section 22 of Article II of the Ohio Constitution, solely for the scholarships and grants provided for in this section and the related administrative costs for administering such scholarships and grants.
In addition to the forgoing amount, an additional one percent of gross slot machine revenue shall be paid to the state to pay for gambling addiction services; an additional six-tenths of one percent of gross slot machine revenue shall be paid to the municipality or township in which each facility is located; an additional three percent of gross slot machine revenue shall be divided equally and paid to the county in which each facility is located and the county seat of that county, which proceeds shall be expended for economic development projects; an additional eight-tenths of one percent of gross slot machine revenue shall be paid to the county in which the non-track facilities are located, which proceeds shall be expended for economic development projects; an additional eight-tenths of one percent of gross slot machine revenue shall be paid to the city in which the non-track facilities are located, which proceeds shall be expended for economic development projects; an additional four tenths of one-percent of gross slot machine revenue shall be divided equally and paid to a county that has a population of at least seven hundred and fifty thousand persons and not more than one permitted commercial horse racing track, and the county seat of such county, which proceeds shall be expended for economic development projects; and an additional two and four-tenths percent of gross slot machine revenue shall be paid to the state for distribution to all other counties pursuant to the local government revenue assistance fund, which proceeds shall be expended for economic development or capital improvement projects. In addition to the foregoing amounts, an additional six percent of gross slot machine revenue at facilities located at each permitted commercial horse racing track shall be used by those tracks for purse money. In the event that devices are transferred between facilities located at permitted commercial horse racing tracks as provided in this section, the transferee facility shall distribute equally the amount of funds this section provides for purse money between the transferor and transferee tracks. An additional six percent of gross slot machine revenue at non-track facilities shall be deposited into the Ohio simulcast horse racing purse fund for distribution as provided by law. The proceeds of any additional games, if authorized by voters pursuant to this section, shall be distributed in the same manner as the proceeds from the operation of slot machines. No other fees or taxes may be applied to or levied against gross slot machine revenue or the amounts wagered or the proceeds of the other games authorized by this section.
The amounts paid to the state pursuant to this section do not diminish the General Assembly's constitutional obligations. The moneys expended hereunder on scholarships and grants shall supplement, not supplant, per-student state resources appropriated for post-secondary educational programs and purposes prior to or after the approval of this amendment. The monies distributed to counties, townships, and municipalities hereunder shall supplement, not supplant, monies appropriated for those counties, townships, and municipalities prior to or after the approval of this amendment. The amounts paid to the state or any county, township, or municipality pursuant to this section shall not be subject to any tax or expenditure limitation. With the exception of the foregoing six-tenths of one percent that is paid to the municipality or township in which a facility is located, and notwithstanding the requirements, limitations, or prohibitions of Article VIII, or of Sections 5, 6, and 11 of Article XII of the Ohio Constitution, all of the monies distributed to counties and municipalities in which a facility at which slot machines are permitted shall be, and any of the monies distributed to any other counties, townships, and municipalities may be, expended for or in support of, and be applied to any of the revitalization purposes under Section 2o of Article VIII, research and development purposes and development of sites and facilities in Ohio for and in support of industry, commerce, distribution, and research and development purposes under Section 2p of Article VIII, and any other economic development purposes authorized in Section 13 of Article VIII of the Ohio Constitution.
There is hereby created the Gaming Integrity Commission which shall regulate all gaming authorized by this section, which shall determine all voting issues by majority vote, and which shall consist of five members. Three members of the Gaming Integrity Commission shall be appointed by the governor, no more than two of whom shall be members of the same political party. One member of the Gaming Integrity Commission shall be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, and one member shall be appointed by the president of the senate, provided that the members appointed by the legislative leaders shall not be members of the same political party. The reasonably-estimated cost of operating the Gaming Integrity Commission shall be paid from the forgoing amounts to be paid to the counties, townships, and municipalities prior to the distribution to those counties, townships, and municipalities, provided that no more than one percent of gross slot machine revenue may be subtracted from the foregoing amounts to pay the reasonably-estimated cost of operating the Gaming Integrity Commission. Each facility authorized to conduct games pursuant to this section shall pay as a licensing fee an equal share of the reasonably-estimated cost of establishing the Gaming Integrity Commission. Each facility which may be authorized pursuant to this section to conduct live games associated with casinos shall pay an additional licensing fee in the amount of fifteen million dollars, which amount shall be divided equally and paid to the county in which each such facility is located and the county seat of that county, and which amount is payable upon the initial opening of the facility regardless of whether such additional games are eventually authorized, and which amount shall be expended for economic development or capital improvement projects. No other licensing fees shall be imposed upon any of the facilities authorized to conduct games pursuant to this section.
The General Assembly shall pass laws within six months of the effective date of this amendment to facilitate the operation of this amendment. If the General Assembly fails to pass such laws within six months of the effective date of this amendment, or the members of the Gaming Integrity Commission have not been appointed as provided in this section, the games authorized in this section may be conducted on and after that date under the supervision of the Lottery Commission, which shall retain such supervisory authority until the General Assembly has passed laws to facilitate the operation of this amendment and the members of the Gaming Integrity Commission have been appointed as provided in this section.
For purposes of this section, "slot machines" shall include any mechanical, electrical, or other device or machine which, upon insertion of a coin, token, or similar object, or upon payment of any consideration, is available to play or operate, the play or operation of which, by reason of the application of the element of chance, makes individual prize determinations for individual participants in cash, premiums, merchandise, tokens, or any thing of value, whether the payoff is made automatically from the machine or in any other manner. The slot machines authorized by this section may be linked by their operators with other such devices located at the facilities authorized by this section for the purpose of providing prizes based in whole or in part upon the play of such connected devices at the same or other authorized facilities.
For purposes of this section "permitted commercial horse racing track" means any place, track, or enclosure where a permit holder conducted live horse racing for profit at a racing meeting during the two calendar years prior to the approval of this amendment, and which continues to conduct live horse racing for profit following the approval of this amendment, and includes facilities on premises contiguous to, or separated only by a roadway from, those places, tracks, or enclosures, provided that a permit holder that currently conducts racing meetings on public land may relocate the facility authorized in this section if that permit holder relocates its permitted commercial horse racing track within the same county as provided by law.
For purposes of this section, "gross slot machine revenue" means the total of wagers received by a slot machine minus the total of: (1) cash or cash equivalents paid out to patrons as a result of playing a slot machine which are paid to patrons either manually or paid out by the slot machine; (2) cash paid to purchase annuities to fund prizes payable to patrons over a period of time as a result of playing a slot machine; and (3) any personal property distributed to a patron as the result of playing a slot machine, excluding travel expenses, food, refreshments, lodging, or services."