Ohio Betting on Sports

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine speaks to the crowd during the Solheim Cup Opening Ceremony. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP

At some point in time, we will be discussing states legalizing sports betting much like we reminisce about the federal government allowing alcohol after Prohibition was overturned. Ultimately, it’s quite obvious that state and local governments will turn to every conceivable outlet to generate tax revenues; thus, sports betting is a no-brainer.

The perceived moral stigma has long since been eliminated, particularly when one considers that virtually every state runs its own lottery and has a plethora of scratch-off tickets available to its residents. Whatever delay prohibiting sports betting is merely a facade for those legislatures desperately trying to assuage their conservative constituents.

But evolving social mores have ultimately moved the needle and it is clear that the barriers once drawn against sports betting have long since been removed. Tax revenue is the name of the game, as it always has been, and if the people want it the legislators they elect should reflect their will.

It’s only a matter of time and the state representatives that are conjuring a reason to vote against it will soon find out that their very existence as public servants is in jeopardy, as the overwhelming majority of people are either for sports betting or don’t care one way or the other. In other words, it’s not a political hill on which to die.

Ohio is in the midst of such a battle and like more and more states, they are realizing that there is no downside to legalizing licensed operators to deliver online and brick-and-mortar sports betting to its residents.

Ohio State Senator Kirk Schuring, stated, “President Huffman is working on scheduling a meeting this week with House Speaker Cupp to see what the house is recommending. This is very similar to the process when we’re in the final stage of our budget. The ultimate decisions have to be made by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, and then the conference committee will convene, and hopefully, we’ll issue a conference report. We’re getting there.”

Once the bill gets through both houses of the state legislature, it is a veritable certainty that Ohio Governor Mike DeWine will immediately sign it into law. There are complications ahead but the bottom line is that Ohio wants sports betting as much as any state and it will manifest, sooner or later.

Earlier this year, Joe Ewig, a lobbyist who represents the Ohio Grocers Association, told the Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming, “We are not here today to advocate for opening a sportsbook in each grocery store, having tables set up through our locations or isles. But we ask you to consider making us a part of the sports gaming system.” Every group, regardless of how far off of the sports betting spectrum, wants a piece of the revenue generated from sports betting and it seems like it is only a matter of time before it comes to fruition.

Bookmakers Review will be monitoring the status of sports betting legislation in Ohio as well as all the other states contemplating its adoption in their state.