Gambling casinos authorized by Ohio voters last fall are not open yet - in fact, they have not even been built - but already, their developers are seeking breaks from state legislators. Lawmakers are right to reject them.
Part of the constitutional amendment approved by voters in November requires the General Assembly to set up rules for operation of the casinos in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo. The measure stipulates a bill must be signed into law by June to establish casino licensing rules. Also, a casino control commission is to be established.
Reportedly, some companies planning casinos are lobbying for two special rules. First, they want to be able to sell alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day in the casinos. Second, they want to be able to offer complimentary drinks to gamblers.
Some leaders in the state House of Representatives don't like either idea.
"Of the states around us, none allows 24-hour liquor operations and very few allow complimentary drinks," state Rep. Todd Book, D-McDermott, told The Columbus Dispatch.
McDermott suggested Ohio adopt rules similar to those in nearby states.
We do not necessarily think Ohio lawmakers should play follow-the-leader in regulating casinos. Other states may allow - or prohibit - practices Ohioans would view differently.
At the same time, we agree with legislators who do not want to allow round-the-clock consumption of alcoholic beverages or complimentary drinks for gamblers.
Let us be frank: Both practices are intended to "lubricate" gamblers in order to keep their money flowing into the casinos' coffers. We think gambling casinos have plenty of other tools available to accomplish that - without taking undue advantage of patrons whose inhibitions have been loosened by alcohol.
Ohio lawmakers should adopt a strict set of regulations intended to prevent corruption in the casino industry and safeguard - at least to some extent - problem gamblers.
The two proposals involving alcoholic beverages are counter to the latter goal. General Assembly members should reject them.