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William P.

Coley II Committees:
State Senator Government Oversight and Reform, Chair
Finance – Health and Medicaid Subcommittee
Senate Building
Columbus, Ohio 43215 Rules and Reference
614/466-8072 CIIC

Ohio Senate
4th District Serving Butler County

Pat McDonald
Ohio Lottery
615 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44113


Dear Director McDonald:

During past economic downturns, Ohio leaders turned to the Lottery for recommendations on
ways to raise more revenue without raising taxes.
In 2008, as Ohio climbed out of the Great Recession, the Lottery introduced Keno in bars,
taverns and other outlets. And in 2010, the Lottery Commission created new rules governing
the operation of Video Lottery Terminals at Ohio-licensed racetracks. Together, those exciting
additions accounted for nearly 40 percent of lottery sales in fiscal year 2019 and helped the
profits earmarked for education top $1 billion for the past three years.
Last year, the Lottery was on pace to set a record, according to Greg Bowers, deputy finance
director for the lottery. Mr. Bowers pointed to mid-year figures showing the Lottery was
poised to break the previous year’s record of $4.42 billion in sales - $3.36 billion from
traditional games and $1.06 from VLTs at our racetracks.
Then COVID-19 hit. The racinos and many other businesses that offer Lottery products
temporarily closed, and Ohio saw a swift and sharp decline in Lottery profits and other revenue.
Our state now faces an economic downturn so severe that Gov. Mike DeWine announced plans
to cut more than $300 million in K-12 public-school funding.
Lottery officials have responded to these challenges with uncharacteristic silence. It is time for
the Lottery to step forward and recommend ways to maximize lottery profits. Today, legislators
are debating competing plans to fight illegal gaming by allowing legal sports betting in Ohio.
One plan favors oversight from the Lottery, the other calls for the Casino Control Commission to
oversee and benefit from sports betting.
I am asking the Lottery to find a solution that would benefit casinos, schools, small businesses
and racetracks and help avert the deep and devastating cuts to education that the governor is
seeking. With the Lottery at the hub, systems can be designed that will allow Lottery’s new
casino and racino partners to utilize their own platforms. As you may have read, the problem
gaming people have looked at this issue and they have stepped in to support the idea of a
centralized system that would be able to minimize problem gaming issues.
Ohio is blessed with a mature Lottery that understands its mission and its customers. The
explosive growth of casinos, jackpot fatigue and waning interest from millennials have caused
many state lotteries to see revenues decline. Ohio, however, has kept players interested and
sales rising by offering exciting new options.
Legal sports betting is one way that Ohio could bring in new revenue. The Ohio House already
has passed a sports betting bill and the Ohio Senate is expected to pass a rival measure by
year’s end. Given the Lottery’s expertise, I am confident that its leadership team can propose a
reasonable alternative that would help boost money for education and help small businesses
that have been selling Lottery products for many years.


cc: Commissioners Matthew Blair, James Brady, Nina Gupta, Jonathan S. Hughes, Angela Mingo,
Mark Rickel, Martin J. Sweeney, Sean. A. Whalen

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