Learn and Earn, the campaign behind Issue 3, estimates that 31,500 slots in the state would generate $853 million a year to help defray the costs of higher education, based on gross proceeds of $2.8 billion. But the state's Office of Budget and Management concludes that the state can support only 10,035 machines, raising about $324 million annually for scholarships.
The proposal, backed by a group of racetrack owners and casino developers, would allow slots at Ohio's seven horse tracks and at two freestanding sites in downtown Cleveland.
Ohio's horse industry loves the proposal, which promises to add $170 million a year to race purses. That would attract better horses to state tracks and raise the quality of racing and breeding overall, supporters say.
“People lose sight that this is an agricultural industry,” said John Engelhardt, a spokesman with River Downs race track near Cincinnati. “And it's an industry we've seen in steady decline in Ohio.”