Organizers of new casino effort betting on Ohio

MyOhioNow.Com's Dr. Bradford Pressman.
MyOhioNow.Com's Dr. Bradford Pressman.
Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop.
Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop.
Reported by Rob Wiercinski - bio | email
Posted by Nick Dutton -

TOLEDO (WTOL) -- The issue of casino gambling has "crapped out" every time it has been placed before Ohio voters, but that's not stopping organizers of a new casino effort.

Some say people say the COSI building in downtown Toledo would make a nice venue for a casino. News 11's Rob Wiercinski says there's no chance at all for the moment, but those leading the charge to try to build a casino in southern Ohio say if they're successful, somewhere down the line a casino operation could set up in places like this one here in downtown Toledo.

It's called the My Ohio Now initiative. Project backers want to build a casino and resort in Clinton County, and they need the blessing of Ohio voters to do it. Those who are leaving the state for gambling excursions is their main argument for supporting the plan.

My Ohio Now's Dr. Bradford Pressman says, "We have an old adage that we talk about in My Ohio Now, what plays in Ohio, stays in Ohio, so if you keep the money inside the state it's benefiting yourself."

Plus, they say local governments stand to cash in on the proposal.

My Ohio Now organizers estimate annual tax revenues at over 200 million dollars, which would be divided up by the 88 Ohio counties based on population.

"Even if you don't like casino gambling, money comes back to your community and your locality to be spent on your local needs," says Dr. Bradford Pressman.

Lucas County receiving millions in extra tax revenue sounds good in theory for this elected official, but he stands firmly opposed to casino gambling.

Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop says, "People can project anything. There's no way to know exactly how much the revenue's going to be, and on top of that, there's tremendous cost associated with gambling to a community."

Should this proposal buck the trend and win voter approval, that could lead the way for efforts to build other casinos in Ohio, but Konop says people would be foolish to try to take that idea to the bank.

"I don't think we can gamble our way out of a recession. I don't think casinos are really the cure to what ails our economy. We need to invest in high tech jobs," says Ben Konop.

My Ohio now needs 402,000 valid petition signatures by August to put the issue on the November ballot.

Click the video gallery at the top of the screen to hear from both sides in our UNCUT BONUS footage of Rob's interview with Konop and Pressman.