The machine terminal terminology entered the political talks on July 5th, 2009 when Governor Ted Strickland accused Republicans in the legislature of hypocrisy for criticizing his plan for slot machines at state racing tracks when many of the same legislators passed a similar slot machine plan in 2007.
Senate President Bill M. Harris (Republican-Ashland) joined 24 Ohio senators in May 2007 to vote for installation of video racing terminals at Ohio’s seven racing tracks. Eight state senators, all Republicans, voted against the proposal. The bill died in the lower House after Gov. Strickland threatened to veto the bill. Harris is now the main critic of Gov. Strickland’s video lottery terminal plan for the same racing tracks.
Governor Strickland said that he do not see any difference between what the Senate has already approved and what they are asking to get the state budget finished. Slot machine supporters 2 years ago, including Senate President Harris, said that video racing terminals were not the same as slot machines. Harris stated that the machines’ skill factor differentiates them from slot machines. Video lottery terminals are a higher version of slot machines, offering the same fruit icons, only on a screen instead of a standard reel. The machine terminals can also be set for video poker and other games.
Although Governor Strickland prefers the term video lottery terminal over slot machine-its gaming devices would be handled by the Ohio Lottery Commission-it does not argue with the term slot machine. Video racing terminals are different from slot machines. Supporters called video racing terminals horse races in a box during the 2007 talks on the issue. The terminals archive thousands of horse races; gamblers place their bet on a horse without knowing the horse and the jockey. Gamblers can watch the whole race or the final ten seconds.