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Howard Stutz

Ohio voters support casino measure

26 October 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Ohio voters support a statewide ballot measure that would allow four casinos to be built in the state's largest cities, a Columbus Dispatch/Ohio Newspaper Poll showed Sunday. The election will be held Nov. 3.

Ohio voters currently favor Issue 3 by 57 percent to 39 percent, with 4 percent undecided. That compares with 59 percent for and 38 percent against a month ago. The measure would allow one casino per city in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo.

Despite an increasingly contentious campaign, the lead for the casino issue on next week's statewide ballot has dropped only slightly and stands at 18 points.

"The poll shows there's a possibility to close this, but like everything else, it depends on turnout composition," said Eric Rademacher, co-director of the University of Cincinnati's Institute for Policy Research, which conducted the poll for the newspapers.

Supporters of the casino measure, backed primarily by Penn National Gaming and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, have out spent opponents by about 5 to 1.

"Opponents will need to ramp up the opposition," Rademacher said. "There's going to need to be a higher profile advertising effort on the 'no' side. They really have a lot of work to do."