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Issue 3, which would allow one Las Vegas-style casino to be built in each of Ohio's four largest cities, passed with 53 percent of the vote.
The vote was a victory for Penn National Gaming and Dan Gilbert, owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. Penn will be allowed to operate casinos in Cincinnati and Toledo while Gilbert will run the casinos in Cleveland and Columbus.
The vote is also viewed as a victory for Nevada's slot machine industry. The casinos could eventually house a combined 20,000 slot machines.
The election marked the fifth time gambling had been proposed to Ohio voters in 20 years. They roundly rejected the others. Ohio will become the 39th state to legalize casinos and would join neighboring casino states Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Voters believed the casinos will help solve Ohio's budget problems — the casinos are expected to operate under a 33 percent gaming tax.
Also, backers of the issue said the casinos would produce 40,000 full-time and part-time jobs. Ohio has a 10 percent unemployment rate.
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