We're In!: Cleveland Police Union Gives Two Thumbs Up For City Casino

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The boys in blue are surprisingly backing a full blown casino in the city of Cleveland.

Cleveland Police Union President Steve Loomis tells 19 Action News "whenever you have people in the city in large groups, certain crime rates are going to go up and I think that's a problem we'll be happy to address."

The surprise backing from the Cleveland Police Union comes shortly after slot machines were approved for Ohio's racetracks.

C.P.D. claims big casinos will make our streets safer because there will be a larger demand for more law enforcement.

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says he'll financially back the facilities and promises to create about 34-thousand jobs.

Gilbert and the Cleveland Police Union held a news conference on casino issue #3 Wednesday afternoon.

They released this statement shortly afterwards:



*Cites benefits to local government; wants to keep Ohio money in Ohio*

CLEVELAND, Ohio, Aug. 19, 2009 - The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association - which represents all non-supervisory Patrol Officers, Detectives, and Radio Dispatchers in the Cleveland police department - announced today it will support State Issue 3 - the Ohio Jobs and Growth Plan - on the November statewide ballot.

"Casinos now surround Ohio. You can go to Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan or Canada to gamble," said Steve Loomis, president of the CPPA, at a news conference today. "Thousands of Ohioans do. The money they spend in these locations goes to the host city and the respective state. Ohio gets nothing.

"State Issue 3 would produce $332 million a year in casino tax revenues that could be used to help Cleveland and other cities facing financial problems. We all know Cleveland faces a potentially large deficit next year," Loomis said.

"The money the City of Cleveland would receive from State Issue 3 would allow the city to hire more police officers for a force that is overworked and understaffed and allow us to do an even better job of protecting the people of Cleveland. It could also be used to provide other critical city services."

Acknowledging the CPPA endorsement, Dan Gilbert, majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and one of the principal backers of the Ohio Jobs and Growth Plan, said, "It is especially gratifying to win the support of the men and women who protect our cities.

"The CPPA - and other law enforcement and labor organizations that are backing Issue 3 - recognize that this proposal will create more than 34,000 jobs for Ohioans and create $11 billion in economic impact to our largest cities and to the state," Gilbert said.

The Ohio Jobs and Growth Plan is a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that authorizes first-class casinos in the state's four largest cities (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo). The plan would generate $11 billion in economic impact during construction and the first five years of casino operations. It would create 34,000 new jobs for Ohioans, and would provide an estimated $651 million in tax revenues each year for all of the state's counties, its major cities and every public school district in the state, with projected annual tax revenues rising to $772 million by 2017.

Primary backers of the proposal are:

  • Penn National Gaming, Inc., a prominent operator of gaming facilities and horse racing tracks, including Raceway Park in Toledo; and
  • Dan Gilbert, through his Rock Ventures partnership. Gilbert is majority owner of the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers and operator of Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland, Cleveland Clinic Courts, the Lake Erie Monsters, Veritix and Fathead, as well as Chairman and Founder of Quicken Loans, which operates a 350-person Internet web center in downtown Cleveland. Gilbert, who began investing in Ohio in 2005, employs more than 2,500 people throughout the state.

Cleveland isn't the only city that will get a casino if the bill is approved. Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo will each get one.

The casinos will reportedly generate about 322-million-dollars in tax revenue that will be shared amongst all Ohio counties.

If approved, Cleveland's casino will be built near the Tower City Amphitheater just behind Quicken Loans Arena.

Ohio casinos have been voted down 4 times in the past 9 years.

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