Tuesday, June 04, 2002

State pulling travel brochures that promote Indiana casinos

AP Statehouse Correspondent

        COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state said Monday it is pulling travel brochures from Ohio rest stops that promote casino gambling in Indiana.

        Gov. Bob Taft's office made the decision after a state senator from Cincinnati complained about the brochures, saying it was hypocritical to advertise an activity banned in Ohio.

        “To promote an activity that you're not allowing to happen in your state is just strange,” said Sen. Mark Mallory, a Cincinnati Democrat.

        Ohio voters defeated ballot issues in 1990 and 1996 that would have brought casino gambling to the state.

        The Department of Transportation placed the brochures at tourism information centers it runs at highway rest stops and a kiosk in the Ohio Statehouse as part of a reciprocal agreement with Indiana, ODOT spokesman Brian Cunningham said. The brochures were pulled Monday.

        Taft was not aware the brochures were in information centers, spokesman Joe Andrews said.

        “Obviously the governor doesn't support Ohio money going to other states,” Andrews said. “He thinks the money could be better spent in Ohio at our tourism attractions.”

        Taft opposes any form of casino gambling that isn't supported by a vote of the people, Andrews said.

        Taft also has opposed proposals to raise hundreds of millions of dollars annually by placing electronic slot machines at Ohio racetracks. Taft calls that plan a form of casino gambling.

        The brochures included pamphlets promoting Argosy Casino and Hotel in Lawrenceburg, Ind., and the Grand Victoria Casino in Rising Sun.

        The Argosy Casino is about 20 miles from Cincinnati, and the Grand Victoria Casino is about 25 miles from the city.

        Because the Grand Victoria is so close to Cincinnati, “it would make sense a lot of our clientele are from Ohio,” said Ynez Taylor, a Grand Victoria spokeswoman. She said the company had no comment on the state's decision to pull the brochures.

        The Department of Transportation placed the brochures after receiving requests for information about the casinos from people stopping at rest areas, Cunningham said.

        “The governor's office has instructed us to use more discretion in the materials we are putting out,” he said Monday.


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