As more and more states look to legalize sports betting, Ohio seems to be the latest to enter into the fray. While residents have been able to enjoy gambling at table games, on slot machines, and purchasing lottery tickets, sports betting has been strictly prohibited.
However, it appears that could be changing soon as Ohio is poised to join nearly 20 other states that have gone ahead and legalized sports betting. The question now becomes a matter of when, and not if.
What State Officials Are Saying
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has said that there’s no doubt that sports betting will eventually arrive in the state, but it’s first up to the Legislature to figure out the specifics regarding policy, taxes and regulations.
Gov. DeWine also believes that it’s important to discuss whether or not sports betting will be allowed on mobile apps, and whether it can include in-state collegiate sports. Then there is the issue of gambling addictions, which Gov. DeWine is also aware of and wants to be sure the state addresses:
“I have not weighed in on these (questions). I will at some point. Again, these are public policy questions that the public needs to look at and I would encourage anyone in the public who cares about this…to weigh in with their legislators and weigh in with us.”
Meanwhile State Sen. John Eklund, R-Chardon has gone so far as to claim that Ohioans are already placing sports bets, despite the fact that it is illegal:
“If there are billions of dollars, as they are, being wagered on sports by otherwise law abiding, sensible Ohioans, to have laws now that turns them basically into criminals is a little ridiculous.”
Currently, Senate Bill 111 and House Bill 194 both seek to address legalizing sports betting. The Senate bill looks at giving oversight responsibility to the Casino Control Commission, whereas the House bill would give that responsibility to the Ohio Lottery.
As for the question on college sports betting, right now the state’s universities and colleges, both public and private, oppose the legalization of wagering on collegiate sports in Ohio.
A petition that condemns the move to legalize college sports betting has been signed by 30 private and 14 public universities. Those that oppose it feel it could in fact degrade the very integrity of the athletic programs at these schools.
This opposition also believes that betting on college sports could put extra pressure on the student athletes to perform a certain way.
Just How Much Do Ohioans Spend on Gambling?
It seems that sports betting is getting a lot of attention in the state of Ohio thanks to the sheer amount of money that Ohioans spend each year on gambling. Recent statistics show that people wager $694 at the casinos, $270 on lottery tickets, and $990 on video slots at the racinos just last year. That works out to around $2,000 per capita.
Those statistics don’t even paint the full picture as the figure doesn’t take into account the amount of money that’s taking place through illegal gambling and sports wagering. This is where the state wants to step in so that they can in fact turn a profit on the sports betting that is currently taking place illegally.
What Does the Future Hold for Sports Betting in Ohio?
Ohio has hit a few speed bumps along the way, but there’s a strong amount of support for sports betting within the Legislature. Additionally, Governor DeWine sees the positive impact that sports betting could have on Ohio’s economy with the right structure.
Furthermore, neighboring states are quickly legalizing sports betting and Ohio’s leaders don’t want to be left too far behind. Gaming dollars could be spent in other states, which would also have a negative effect on Ohio.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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