09/24/2007 11:00PM

Beulah installing more slot-like machines

EmailBeulah Park near Columbus, Ohio, began installing 70 new slot machine-like devices in its grandstand on Tuesday following a county court ruling on Friday that said the state attorney general could not act to ban the machines.

Both Beulah Park and River Downs in Cincinnati had begun operating small banks of the machines in their grandstands approximately three weeks ago. Though River Downs officials could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, Michael Weiss, the general manager of Beulah, said that the track had decided to install the additional machines in the wake of the Friday ruling, bringing the track's total number of machines up to 90.

The machines are called "Tic Tac Fruit" and "Nudgemaster," and there are approximately 4,000 of the machines in operation in Ohio in bars and truck stops, according to the state.

Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann had sought to bar the machines, but Judge Michael J. Holbrook of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court ruled that the machines fit a definition of "games of skill" under a 2003 law. According to Ohio newspapers, Dann and Gov. Strickland intend to pursue other avenues to prohibit the machines.

Ohio racetracks have struggled to stay afloat recently and have turned their lobbying efforts to getting casino-type gambling legalized. Last year, however, Ohio voters overwhelmingly rejected a state referendum that would have allowed slot machines at racetracks.

Weiss declined to provide a per-machine revenue figure for the devices, but said the revenue was "pretty minimal."

"This is not the answer to our problems," Weiss said. "This is only about staying competitive with the bars all down the street."