Wednesday, February 21, 2001

What's the Buzz?

Visions of dinosaurs and stars

        The ideas are swirling around brains at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

        Those running the three-museum complex said ideas in the hopper for possible expansion include a planetarium, a dinosaur hall and a project on the suburbanization of Greater Cincinnati.

        None will happen this year, but officials hope all could keep people coming to the Queensgate center in the face of increasing competition.

        The newest competitor will come on line this fall with the opening of the IMAX theater on the Newport riverfront. But the planetarium and other projects on the wish list are not a direct response to Newport's plans, insisted Douglass McDonald, president and chief executive officer of the Museum Center.

        The Robert D. Lindner Omnimax Theater shows many of the same films that will be at the IMAX.

        “Absolutely, it will have an effect,” Mr. McDonald said. “But the IMAX doesn't have anything to do with these projects. All we're doing now is refining the concepts.”

        The planetarium idea has sparked the biggest whispers among the Museum Center's supporters around town. Like many of the new exhibits, it would be built on land adjacent to the Museum Center, not taking away current space or the Omnimax theater.

Online betting?

        No one will say it out loud, but momentum could be building for the sale of Ohio Lottery tickets online.

        Lottery Director Dennis Kennedy was in front of an Ohio House committee, advocating joining Powerball or another multistate lottery for his boss, Gov. Bob Taft.

        The new game would bring in new money for schools and draw new customers, he said.

        But when it came to Internet sales, Mr. Kennedy buttoned up.

        “The lottery does not conduct any gaming over the Internet, nor does it have any plans to do so,” he said.

        Meanwhile, here in Cincinnati, Inc. is ready and waiting whenever online sales come. And insiders said talks are under way in Columbus about whether online lottery sales would require legislation or whether current law would allow it.

        State Sen. Mark Mallory of Cincinnati, who sat on a commission studying lottery profits last year, said he is against online sales for security reasons.

        “I doubt very seriously that the director of the lottery would make such a major change in gaming strategy without coming to the legislature,” Mr. Mallory said. founder Roger Ach, a longtime friend of Mr. Taft, called online lottery sales “an idea whose time has come.”

        “While most lottery directors would tell you there is no present intention to sell online, there continues to be a good bit of work by our company and others to develop completely safe and secure systems,” he said.

        If you have a tip about Greater Cincinnati companies, e-mail Cliff Peale at or call 768-8573.


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