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Indecision Delaying Ohio Casinos

11 April 2011 by admin

ohio-location-mapPoliticians are elected by the people to make policy decisions and legal decisions. That’s why they’re paid. In many cases, they make decisions that the people disagree with, but that’s almost better than when the fail to make a decision. Making a poor decision seems more understandable than failing to decide anything, when that is the entire purpose of their job. Right now the governor of Ohio is holding up casino construction in the state because he can’t make a decision regarding fees and taxes.

To be fair, this isn’t as egregious as the state lawmakers in Wisconsin who fled the state to avoid having to vote on a bill. Still, the governor, John Kasich, was voted into the executive branch of government to make executive decisions. All of his handwringing is delaying construction and costing the taxpayers and developers time and money. I guess a good thing about owning an online casino is that the development costs and timetables are a lot more reasonable.

Matt Cullen, the president and CEO of Rocking Gaming, is preparing the construction of new casinos in Cincinnati and Cleveland. However, the construction of those casinos has been delayed by Kasich. Cullen says that he needs to close financing deals with investors, but those investors are unwilling to get involved as long as there is uncertainty in the what the tax rate and fees will be. Kasich has not yet decided on either, but Kasich believes that Ohio should receive more money from the casinos than what had previously been discussed. That indecision has made it difficult to get investors.

Cullen told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that “it’s becoming a real problem” and that “we have to have certainty around these projects or we can’t embark on the process.” Rock Gaming has already spent more than $100 million financing the projects, but needs more financial backing. Total construction costs are estimated to be $1 billion for the two casinos.

Governor Kasich has said that he won’t make a decision on the tax rate or fees for the casinos until he hires a gaming expert to advise his administration. He is planning to hire that expert soon. Cullen certainly hopes that is the case, since any wasted time means a loss of profits.

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