Ohio Gambling Revenue Tops $158 Million in July, Good News for Sports Betting
The gambling revenue numbers for July are out, and state leaders have to be happy with what they’ve seen. According to reports by Ohio’s lottery and casino control commissions, gambling revenue for the month of July was $158.6 million at the state’s racinos and casinos. This is an increase of 2.7 percent compared to last year. The growth was thanks to the state’s seven slots-only racinos as revenue was $88.9 million, which was an increase of 5.2 percent. Revenue at the state’s four casinos was $69.7 million, a drop of 0.3 percent.
Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield had the most revenue. After paying out winnings, the facility profited $22.5 million. July 2017 revenue there was $22.3 million. MGM Growth Properties bought the Hard Rock Rocksino on July 6th for $1 billion.
Out of all the casinos, Hollywood Columbus had the most with $19.4 million after paying out winnings. That’s up from $18.7 million in July 2017.
Sports Betting in Ohio
Right now there are only four states where sports betting is legal: Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Nevada. Many other states are currently working on legislation to allow it, and Ohio is probably not far behind. Lawmakers have started planning to pass a proposal to legalize sports gambling.
SB 316, a bipartisan bill introduced by Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township) on July 2018, is currently under construction. Eklund said that he wants to have a series of meetings with stakeholders throughout the state. There isn’t much to the bill: in its entirety, it says,
“It is the intent of the General Assembly to develop and enact legislation legalizing sports wagering.”
According to a report by WHIOTV7, Eklund thinks legal sports betting in Ohio is going to happen eventually:
“There is a lot of widespread interest in it and a desire for it. I think it is ultimately coming and I think we are better off using the legislative process for that to happen than the vagaries of an initiative process which is really not informed by facts, investigation, and research as the legislative process will be.”
In addition to the proposed legislation, there is at least one citizens group who wants to put the issue on the ballot next year. Representative Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) is against statewide ballot issues placed before voters by out-of-state consumer groups and businesses. He wants legislators to control the process. Out-of-state businesses brought a constitutional amendment to the November 3, 2009, ballot to legalize casinos after legislature declined to approve a plan that would have legalized gambling.
The companies that pushed for the ballot gave themselves the exclusive right to open casinos in four different Ohio cities, and Antani doesn’t want that to happen with sports betting. In the abovementioned report by WHIOTV7, Niraj Antani said the following:
“What we want to make sure is that this is not another issue like the casinos. We do not want an out of state special interest coming to Ohio and buying our ballot and telling us how we are going to regulate or have sports betting.”
How Sports Betting Might Work in Ohio
There are several different ways sports betting could work in Ohio. Some taxpayers want wagering to be done in racinos and casinos where there’s already oversight in place by the Ohio Lottery and Ohio Casino Control Commission. Others want it to be treated more like the lottery and Keno that bettors can play in restaurants and bars.
How it will all work and where sports betting might take place is what could be decided by lawmakers if Antani and Eklund get their way. Eklund wants to start hearings in the fall in order to form a plan, and to continue the hearings in the new year.
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