Ohio House panel OKs bill on casino regulations

ANN SANNER Associated Press Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- An Ohio House committee has cleared a bill making broad changes to the state's gambling laws in preparation for new casinos and the addition of slots-like video lottery terminals at horse racetracks.

The panel voted 20-2 to send the bill to the full House, where a vote is expected next week. While it won bipartisan approval, lawmakers were split over whether more money should go to helping addicted gamblers.

The measure sets up a regulatory framework for gambling in Ohio. It also outlines a minimum number of live racing days at the state's seven horse tracks and gives the state inspector general authority to investigate the conduct of casino gaming.

Legislative leaders have made the bill a priority as voter-approved casinos in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo prepare to open.