05/23/2007 11:00PM

Ohio Senate okays gaming machines


The Ohio Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would allow the state's seven racetracks to operate a type of electronic gambling game that allows people to bet on the results of previously run horse races.

The approval, by a vote of 25-8, means that the bill will be sent to the House of Representatives. Last year, Ohio voters overwhelmingly voted against a plan to install slot machines at Ohio's racetracks.

"I'm very hopeful" the bill will pass the House, said Mike Weiss, the general manager of Beulah Park, one of Ohio's three Thoroughbred racetracks. "Racing needs a shot in the arm in this state."

The machines, called Instant Racing, are legal in two states, Arkansas and Oregon. They allow players to make horse racing-type bets with all identifying information on the horses and races unknown other than the post-time odds.

Ohio has seven racetracks. Three operate Thoroughbred meets - Beulah, River Downs, and Thistledown - and four operate harness meets.