Berman, who co-founded television’s World Poker Tour, feels that there is a 60% chance that the vote will pass, and seems confident that those odds will prevail. Lakes Entertainment, which already operates some of the world’s most successful tribal casinos, is collaborating with Rick Lertzman and Brad Pressman on this project. Together, the group is trying to convince Ohio voters to approve the first casino in the history of the state.
Ohio voters have had a dim view of casino gambling in the past. During the last 10 years, the topic has come up for a vote twice. Ohio voters shot down the idea both times. This is a fact that Lakes Entertainment knows all too well, but despite the historical perception towards gambling in Ohio, the company feels that the voters are on their side this time around.
As part of their drive for legalized gambling in Ohio, Lakes Entertainment has backed the web site MyOhioNow.com. The web site is striving to gather just over 402,000 signatures, which is enough to place a constitutional amendment on the Fall ballot.
Once the item is placed on the ballot, the next job for Lakes Entertainment to be to convince the people of Ohio that the benefits of casino gambling can improve their lives. That is a message that is likely to gain support in a recessed economy.
Should the company gain approval to develop the casino they want, Ohio will be home to a casino gaming floor with more than 200,000 square feet. That is more gaming space than all of the floors on all of the riverboats in Indiana, combined. The space will be filled with around 4,000 slot machines and 100 gaming tables. The casino will be accompanied by a 1,500 room hotel development. The company envisions a property similar to the 4 Winds Casino that the company runs in New Buffalo, Michigan.
The resort complex is expected to cost around $600 million to build, and has profits projected at $200 million per year. Tax revenues from gambling will be distributed to all 88 counties in Ohio.