For centuries, governments have tried to find the right balance between individual liberties and the powers of the state. Though many have chosen to burden its people with a litany of excessive restrictions, our nation's history has proven that free societies help to grow happy, creative, and productive citizens. In 2009, voters decided that Ohio should no longer prohibit persons over 21 years of age from enjoying the entertainment offered by casino gaming. Casino gaming involves money wagering on games of chance. Even though the games are structured so that the laws of statistics and probabilities provide the casino with a mathematical advantage, customers seem to enjoy the excitement of knowing that a lucky streak may be right around the corner. As required by 2009's Constitutional Amendment, four full casinos will soon be opening in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, and Toledo. Video lottery terminals (VLTs) will also soon be housed at our state's seven racetracks, further opening the door to this type of gaming. Additionally, ongoing activity at the Federal level may soon bring changes in regards to wagering over the internet. We should all be aware that increased freedom comes with a need for increased responsibility, and the 2009 casino vote was not the first time that Ohioans have had to take this thought into consideration. For instance, the enactment of the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1919 prohibited persons of legal drinking age from partaking in the consumption of alcoholic beverages. When that law was repealed some fourteen years later, Americans were faced with the task of meeting added freedom with proper responsibility as they had to decide whether to consume alcohol in moderation, abstain from consumption completely, or run the risk of alcoholism by way of overindulgence. Just as Ohioans faced decisions regarding their personal conduct after the repeal of prohibition, the upcoming proliferation of casino gaming in our state will require each of us to examine how to deal with this latest expansion of personal liberty. I have no doubt that the majority of our residents will choose to enjoy casino gaming through moderation and restraint, but history has shown that some may find themselves facing the possibility of significant financial, familial, or emotional problems. Recent surveys conducted in some of our fellow states show that approximately 25% of respondents indicated that they knew a friend or family member with a gambling addiction. As chairman of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, I advocate for an ample amount of resources and programs aimed at providing the necessary assistance for problem gamblers. However, friends and family remain the first line of defense in responding to the signs of addiction, and I intend to ensure that they will always have a place to turn in order to obtain help for their loved ones. In order to enjoy the many opportunities that freedom offers, we must always be mindful of the responsibility that it requires. Individuals, like governments, must find the appropriate balance between indulgence and abstinence. Just as liberty allows us to pursue a life full of happiness, it must be tempered with good judgment and a proper sense of responsibility to ourselves and those close to us. If you or someone you know needs help with gambling addiction, please call the National Problem Gamblers' Help Line at (800) 522-4700. And, as always, please feel free to contact my office if you have questions or concerns about any of the matters we are discussing at the Statehouse. I can be reached at (614) 466-8072, via e-mail at or by writing me, State Senator Bill Coley, 1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor, Columbus, OH 43215.
Senator Bill Coley represents Ohio's 4th Senate District and currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Government Oversight Committee and Reform Committee.
Featured Posts

MEDIA ADVISORY: Coley To Announce Bill Restoring Control To Restaurant Owners, Allowing Dogs On Patios


COLUMBUS - State Senator Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township) will join business leaders TOMORROW to announce legislation aimed at restoring the decision-making authority of restaurant owners in determining whether to allow dogs in their outdoor spaces. 


Coley Announces Passage Of Senate Budget That Closes Fiscal Shortfall And Protects Essential Services


"Working together, we have cut almost $1.1 billion from the original version of the budget and have brought the budget in balance without putting Ohio's economy at risk by raising taxes," said Senator Coley, who serves a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which is responsible for balancing Ohio's two-year operating budget. 


Senate Approves Awareness Legislation Aimed At Curing Pediatric Brain Tumors In Honor Of Kyler Bradley


"Today is another milestone in our efforts to honor Kyler and all those who suffer, both directly and indirectly, from the devastation that DIPG causes families," said Coley. 

DIPG is an aggressive, malignant brain tumor found at the base of the brain stem, affecting approximately 200 to 400 children in the U.S each year. It is the second most common malignant brain tumor and is the leading cause of childhood death due to brain tumors. The average prognosis of those diagnosed is 9 months. Symptoms include double vision, inability to close the eyelids completely, drooping of one side of the face as well as difficulty chewing and swallowing.


Senate Panel Approves Local Mother's Awareness Effort Aimed At Curing Pediatric Brain Tumors


"Today is another milestone in our efforts to honor Kyler and all those we've lost too soon to DIPG," said Coley. "This simple measure offers hope for families that one day we can overcome this disease and the heartbreak it causes."