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Ohio approves slots referendum ...

Written by Bill Toland on .

ohio... yet again:

"The idea for building four, full-service casinos in Ohio will be decided by voters in November. The Ohio Secretary of State's Office today said a group backing the constitutional amendment calling for full-service gambling facilities in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo have gathered enough signatures to place the issue on the Nov. 3 ballot."

Some of the signatures, naturally, seem to have come from dead people, the Plain Dealer reports:

"There were nearly as many signatures deemed invalid for not being verifiable for whatever reason. In some cases, names of dead people appeared on petitions. ... The amendment would rewrite Ohio's constitution to allow the four casinos to be built and controlled by Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert and Penn National Gaming of Pennsylvania."

That seems odd. All the casinos belong to one ownership group?

More:

"The gambling facilities could include slot machines and table games and could have attached restaurants and entertainment venues."

That's different than the "slots-lite" machines that had been proposed for Ohio's racetracks -- these sound like full-fledged casinos, and as such would be more of a threat to Pennsylvania's border casinos in Pittsburgh, Erie, Washington County and (someday, maybe) Lawrence County. But Ohio casinos will be a threat only if they actually open, and the referendum is approved by voters -- but several times in the past two decades, Ohio voters have had a chance to approve casinos, and they've shot it down each time. 

... more from around the state of Pennsylvania:

"Many of the country's largest casino companies have cut pay for their executives and managers," reports the AP. "Harrah's Entertainment cut its managers' pay by 5 percent. Wynn Resorts cut pay 15 percent for managers making $150,000 or more, and 10 percent for the rest. And the Mohegan Tribal Authority cut bosses' pay by up to 10 percent in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. In Atlantic City, the three Trump casinos, the Tropicana Casino and Resort, and Resorts Atlantic City all cut or froze pay for managers."

So the casino executive definitely feel your pain.

... Careful using your ATM card at the casino:

"A 55-year-old woman with a gambling problem tried 23 times to take money from casino-goers' bank accounts, Pennsylvania State Police report. Shoumin Chai of New York City, took $1,110 on three successful tries on June 19 and 20 at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem ... Chai stood nearby when patrons used an ATM on the casino floor, police said. When the patrons left, police said, Chai was able to enter their personal identification numbers and access their accounts without a bank card."

I'm no ATM security whiz, but it seems like you should need a bank card in order to do that.

... Speaking of the Sands, its in a fierce competition with Mt. Airy casino, just up the road:

"George Toth, Mount Airy Casino Resort's president and chief executive officer, knew Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem's opening would hurt his bottom line. And it has: Sands opened May 22, and Mount Airy's June revenue was down 14.5 percent from June 2008."

In case you missed it ...

... The Meadows just opened its bowling alleys.

Odds and ends

The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will host the finals of 1250 ESPN Radio's "Top Fan 2" at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 23 in Silks Lounge ... MTR Gaming (which ownes Presque Isle in Erie) is refinancing its debt ... Atlantic City's casinos are still taking a beating from Pennsylvania's casinos ... You will be stunned to learn that legislatures across the country are looking to expanded gambling to fill the holes in their 2009 and 2010 budgets ... Mark your (2010) calendars: The New England Gaming Summit will be held September 13 and 14, 2010, at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Conn.

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