State Representative Jay Hottinger announced his intention on July 31st, 2009 of pushing for competitive bidding in a multi-million dollars contract for the purchase of the slot machines for the state racing tracks. The slot machines, to be installed at 7 Ohio horse racing parts, are a part of Governor Ted Strickland’s biennial budget plans recently approved into law and predicted to bring in more than $930 million to help solve the state’s $3.2 billion budget problem.
To give the contract, which Hottinger stated could reach as much as $20 million, without opening it to public bidding would be a costly mistake. Hottinger said that Ohio is already circumventing a decision of the state voters to install slot machines at state racing tracks. He said that to consider ignoring the bidding process for the machines at these racing tracks is a big mistake and will be costly to Ohio.
State Representative Dan Dodd (Democrat-Hebron) Greek gaming organization Intralot was given a contract to manage the state’s gaming and lottery offerings beginning this year and would be the front runner for the slots contract. Dodd said that Intralot are the one who manages their lottery operations right now and even if slots the bidding were to open to other gaming organization; there is no way of ensuring that Ohio would receive more money.
Hottinger, a member of the Ohio’s Controlling Board, criticized Gov. Strickland and Ohio Lottery Director Michael Dolan for wanting to act hastily in the issue. Hottinger said that the slot machines are scheduled to be up and running in May 2010 which should allow enough time for bidding.
Hottinger added that if that is the goal, they have plenty of time to evaluate the whole process and arrange a bidding process. Hottinger said that he felt compelled to speak out when he learned that Lottery Director Dolan was thinking of entering the slots contracts without holding a bid.