Judge: Multistate Lottery Does Not Violate Ohio Constitution - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Judge: Multistate Lottery Does Not Violate Ohio Constitution

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state's decision to join a multistate lottery game does not violate the Ohio Constitution, a judge ruled Monday.

Lawmakers "did not unconstitutionally" give the Ohio Lottery Commission authority to conduct a multistate lottery when they passed a bill authorizing Ohio to join the lottery, Judge Daniel Hogan of Franklin County Common Pleas Court said in a 41-page ruling.

Hogan also said that the bill, passed in December to help balance Ohio's budget, did not illegally transfer authority to run such a lottery to other states.

Nothing in the constitution says that lawmakers can't authorize a state agency "to conduct a lottery that happens to be of a sort that cannot exist except for the cooperation or contractual agreement of other parties," Hogan said.

Church groups and anti-gambling activists have sued the state over the decision to join the multistate game. The lawsuit argues that the Ohio Constitution permits only a lottery run exclusively by Ohio with no involvement by other states.

Gov. Bob Taft and state lawmakers approved Ohio's participation in a multistate game to help patch a $1.5 billion deficit. The state hopes to raise about $41 million a year from multistate lottery sales.

Lottery opponents, who say state lotteries make money off the poor, argue that adding a multistate game makes a bad situation worse. Supporters say the new game is needed to make Ohio's lottery profits more stable and keep ticket sales in state.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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