How will Ohio casinos affect Kentucky, Indiana?

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - With voters approving casinos in Ohio during Tuesday's election, the focus now turns to how the vote will affect surrounding states, including Kentucky and Indiana.

Four casinos will be built in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo.

A new report says Indiana could lose $100 million in gambling taxes in the first year. An analysis by the Indiana Legislative Services Agency predicts that hardest hit in Indiana will be three casinos in the southeastern part of the state, not far from Cincinnati.

Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Grand Victoria Casino in Rising Sun and Belterra Casino near Vevay would lose $260 million in gambling revenues in the first year after the Ohio casinos open. That would cut their taxes paid by $93 million.

In northern Kentucky, Turfway Park owner Bob Elliston is worried about what the vote means for his racetrack.

"We need some help now. We need to get on a level playing field with these other states," said Elliston.

Elliston says track slots will help save  Kentucky's failing racetrack industry, bring jobs and boost the state's economy.

"It's a proven commodity. When you go to places like Illinois, and places like Indiana and Pennsylvania, it's worked tremendously," said Elliston.

Rep. Dennis Keene is the chairman of the Licensing & Occupations Committee in Kentucky's House of Representatives. He and other legislators attempted to get a bill allowing casinos to pass during last year's general assembly, but the bill died in the Senate.

"Our people already spend millions each year gambling in Indiana and now Ohio is there to take a piece of the pie," said Rep. Keene in a statement.  "Kentucky must act now to protect our signature horse industry and create jobs on our side of the river."

Keene says the Cincinnati casino could potentially be a $1 billion-per-year gambling market.  Kentucky estimates nearly $700 million in revenue from the House proposal if passed.

Kentucky governor Steve Beshear also gave his input, issuing a statement Wednesday saying, "Clearly, the time to act on expanded gaming is now. Ohio citizens are going to reap the benefits of thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue. Ohio's decision reinforces the urgency to pass the video lottery terminal bill I proposed earlier this year.  Kentucky citizens deserve to keep those dollars at home and see the real and immediate benefits in our economy - supporting our schools and building our roads.  Time is of the essence, and we can't afford to wait any longer."

Legislators who support casinos in Kentucky say they will try again at next year's General Assembly.

Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer, who says he is not a fan of expanded gaming, is proposing a bill that would let voters decide on the issue.

"My position on this issue has been consistent for the entire time I have been in the Senate: let the people decide," says Thayer. "Polls show that whether for or against gambling, an overwhelming number of Kentucky citizens wish to vote on this issue."

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