How does Kasich win this casino gambit?


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We apologize for talking about politics, but I just have to ask: What’s Kasich hoping to gain from going into negotiations with the casinos?

Yes, the state got a shitty deal in the constitutional amendment – the only revenue we get is a one-time licensing fee that is earmarked for specific workforce training purposes. After that, all the tax revenue goes to local governments, schools and a few specified state programs.

But the casinos have an ace in the hole — they have a constitutional guarantee and protections against any new fees or taxes. And the voters weighed in. Kasich has very little leverage, is starting to piss off local elected officials and those seeking employment at the casinos. If he holds this thing up for much longer and casinos don’t get built and create all those promised jobs, he’s going to own that and a lot of people will not be happy. And the most he can gain is perhaps “tens of millions of dollars,” say most accounts. Is it really worth putting even more of his popularity at risk, jeopardizing revenue to local governments and schools and thousands of jobs in the process for that?

His ace in the hole, as I pointed out yesterday, is that the state can always launch video lottery terminals at racetracks (or hell, even expand it to bars and bowling alleys) and get a much larger share of that revenue (fifty percent versus around three for casinos). Why not just do what he can to encourage the casinos to move forward, but ensure revenue to the state by moving forward with VLTs, the rules for which he can completely control, and let the chips fall as they may. No one could accuse him of costing jobs and he could bring in much-needed revenue for schools, redirecting GRF dollars to a tax cut or whatever stupid idea he wants to fund.

Help me out here, someone tell me in the comments why Kasich is making the smart play by dragging this out.

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