Kasich expresses optimism casino deal can be reached soon

CLEVELAND - On his first trip to Cleveland following the decision by Rock Ohio Caesars to suspend construction on their Phase I Horseshoe Casino Cleveland, Governor John Kasich echoed the comments of developer Dan Gilbert that a compromise on taxes or fees could be near.

"We're very, very close I mean we expect that we will have something to present to them, I'd say next week," said Kasich. "We're likely to give them our thoughts about what we think is a way in which they can help us out."

Next week is when Kasich expects Moelis & Company, the gaming consultant hired to advise the administration on potential new gaming taxes or fee, to present their recommendations which he will then share with Rock Ohio Caesars and Penn National.

"I don't even know what it's going to be yet but it isn't going to be the moon, the star and the sky."

Kasich says speed is of the essence but at the same time there is a lot to think through related to the issue of allowing slots at racetracks for example.

"Because we did not think things through clearly," Kasich said of the approach of past administrations to gambling, "I think we got something that wasn't great, I'm not against these casinos, I want them to open, I want people to work there and we're going to get to it soon hopefully they'll agree to help us out. I have reason to think they will but we'll see."

It's expected that once a compromise is reached the state senate would likely remove from the budget a house added amendment that calls for the state's commercial activity (CAT) tax to be applied to all bets wagered as opposed to the much lower gross casino profits.

Kasich called Dan Gilbert a "good guy" and when told of his comments Wednesday that he considered having his 14-year-old son Nick give the governor a call following the luck Nick brought to the Cavs in the NBA Draft Lottery, Kasich who was also impressed by the young Gilbert said "tell him I'll look for Nick's call."

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