Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Court to Review Whether Groups Opposing Video Lottery Terminals and Casinos Have Right to Sue State

Image of slot machines in a casino

Do laws that brought video lottery games and casinos to the state violate the Ohio Constitution? (Photo by jasonwoodhead23/CC BY 2.0)

Image of slot machines in a casino

Do laws that brought video lottery games and casinos to the state violate the Ohio Constitution? (Photo by jasonwoodhead23/CC BY 2.0)

A group of individuals and two organizations challenging the constitutionality of laws allowing casinos and video lottery games in Ohio will ask the Supreme Court on Tuesday to allow their lawsuit to go forward. The case is one of eight before the court during next week’s oral arguments.

The group appealing contends that 2009 and 2011 legislation ushering casinos and video lottery terminal (VLT) games into the state violates provisions in the Ohio Constitution. But the future of this dispute turns on whether the parties have standing, or the right to sue.

The appellants, which include an anti-gambling organization, an Akron company, recovering gambling addicts and family members, parents of public school students, a public school teacher, and a potential casino operator, argue they have shown they've been injured by the unconstitutional gambling, the laws caused the injury, and halting these operations would curtail the harmful effects of gambling. By meeting these criteria, they claim they’ve established their right to pursue this lawsuit.

The state counters that the alleged injuries aren’t concrete or different from any harm caused to the broader public. Nor have the suing parties demonstrated how the laws were the cause of the injury or how a ruling in their favor would give them relief from the injuries, the state maintains.

The state and the suing parties also disagree about whether gambling profits are filling the pockets of the casino and VLT operators rather than solely funding education, as the constitution requires.

Oral Arguments
State ex rel. Walgate v. Kasich is one of four cases to be considered before the court on Tuesday, June 23. The court will hear arguments in four more cases on Wednesday, June 24. Sessions begin at 9 a.m. each day at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center in Columbus, and the arguments will be streamed live online at and broadcast live on The Ohio Channel.

In-Depth Previews Available
Along with the brief descriptions below, the Office of Public Information today released a fuller summary of each case.

Other Cases for Tuesday, June 23

  • A Washington County man received workers’ compensation after he was severely injured while installing scaffolding at an East Liverpool site. The worker also settled with the facility where he was hurt for a contested amount of at least $1.5 million. In Bureau of Workers’ Compensation v. Heritage-WTI, the bureau wants to be reimbursed by the facility for some of the benefits it paid to the worker, but the company maintains the agency must seek those funds from the worker, who received the settlement money.
  • Two Noble County property owners are disputing who owns valuable rights to the oil and gas below the land in Shondrick-Nau v. Walker. A man who bought the surface property used the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act to receive court-approved ownership of the mineral rights by citing the 1989 version of the law. The trial court found the former owner of the surface rights, who claimed to maintain the mineral rights, didn’t take enough action to hold onto them. The executor for the estate of the former surface property owner argues her family followed the 2006 version of the law to preserve their rights.
  • The attorney disciplinary board in Disciplinary Counsel v. Simon recommends that an Ashtabula lawyer be suspended for six months because he neglected to keep two clients up to date about their wrongful termination cases. The attorney, formerly the Ashtabula city solicitor, objects and believes the disciplinary counsel didn’t present clear and convincing evidence that he violated any more than one professional conduct rule. He also notes the clients’ own conflicting testimony before the board.

Cases for Wednesday, June 24

  • A Shaker Heights resident received income from a deferred compensation plan after he retired. The state Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) viewed the money essentially as a retirement benefit that wasn’t subject to the city’s income tax. At issue in City of Shaker Heights Income Tax Board of Review v. MacDonald is whether the BTA applied the proper standard of review in the taxpayer’s appeal from a municipal board of income tax appeals.
  • In State v. Shabazz, the state asks the court to reinstate the aggravated murder conviction of a man involved in a 2012 murder stemming from a fight over spilled champagne at a Cleveland nightclub. The state contends the appellate court didn’t review the entire record or adopt all reasonable inferences in favor of the prosecution. An additional issue before the court is whether an accomplice can be convicted of felony murder when he may not have known the murderer had a gun.
  • Concurrent or consecutive sentences? That is the question before the justices in State v. Polus, in which a man was convicted in Lucas County for receiving stolen property. The state argues that the trial court should decide whether sentences for felony and misdemeanor convictions should run one after the other or be served at the same time. The state believes an ambiguous statute and a clerical error are to blame for the confusion in the case.
  • At the center of In the Matter of the Adoption of H.N.R. is an unwed couple who had a child out of state and then split about four months later. The mother, living in Ohio, decided to place the child for adoption. State law required unwed fathers to sign up in a state registry within 30 days of a child’s birth if they wanted to be notified of a pending adoption. The father, who didn’t register, contests this deadline, arguing that the law is unconstitutional and that he and all fathers in his situation deserve a longer timeframe to seek custody.