Ohio has approved bringing slot machines to race tracks, expecting to bring in close to $1 billion in taxes and license fees.

“Look, we are one of the few large states in the country that fixed our budget problems without raising taxes,” [Chairman of the State Democratic Party Chris] Redfern said.

Ohio is far from alone when it comes to budget problems. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington-based think tank, every state but Montana and North Dakota is up against shortfalls in the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years.

Politicians are turning to gambling to help close that gap, sometimes with the backing of voters. For example, in the 2008 election cycle, Colorado voters backed the expansion of table gaming and betting limits at casinos; Missouri voters approved the end of “loss limits” during casino sessions.

Meanwhile, Delaware’s legislature has legalized sports betting in casinos, although that is being fought in the courts by the major professional sports leagues. Pennsylvania and Illinois are moving to place video poker machines in bars.

NPR had the story.

Advertisements