Spin-to-win closes in Norwalk, Sandusky gambling parlor remains open

SANDUSKY Jackpot Spin and Win owner Keith Holt is fighting to keep his Sandusky business open weeks
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Jackpot Spin and Win owner Keith Holt is fighting to keep his Sandusky business open weeks after a state gambling bill effectively outlawed his way of life.

The new law, known as House Bill 177, was signed by Gov. Ted Strickland Oct. 25.

It was designed to close a loophole in Ohio's gambling machines ban that allowed so-called electronic "games of skill" to operate legally.

House Bill 177 made it illegal for Ohioans to win prizes worth more than $10 when playing games of skill or chance, except for the Ohio lottery.

Holt, who owned five Jackpot Spin and Win locations throughout Ohio, said the bill has also put a lot of Ohioans employed at businesses like his out of work.

He was forced to close all but two of his locations and his Sandusky business is one of the two remaining.

"I had to let go of 40 people," he said. "(Lawmakers) put 7,000 to 8,000 people out of work."

Holt is working with the Sandusky law director's office to figure out how he can keep his Sandusky location open without breaking the law.

Since the passage of House Bill 177, Jackpot Spin and Win customers have been playing games without the incentive of cash prizes.

"We're going to be changing pay-outs according to what local officials want us to do," he said. "Right now they're just playing for fun."

David Pugh, owner of another gaming business in Huron and Norwalk called Spin-to-Win, closed his businesses the day before the state's new law was signed.

Pugh sued the city of Norwalk in August after Norwalk police repeatedly cited Spin-to-Win employees for zoning law violations.

Norwalk law director Stuart O'Hara said the business was too close to a school and outside of the proper commercial district.

Pugh said he didn't have time to think about hurt feelings after the bill was passed.

"I'm more concerned with how I'm gonna continue to pay my bills and stuff," he said. "I'm looking forward now. I gotta figure out what I'm gonna do."

Even if he can keep his business open, Holt projects he'll lose half his business without the potential to win huge cash prizes.

"We're getting opinions on what our customers want to have as prizes instead of cash," he said. "Teddy bears are out of the question."

Law directors in Norwalk and Sandusky said they are still working out how to enforce the new gambling ban with local law enforcement.