Ohio Lawmakers Must Agree on Model Before Legalizing Sports Betting

Published May 4, 2021 by Elana K

Ohio Lawmakers Must Agree on Model Before Legalizing Sports Betting

Although Ohio governor Mike DeWine has expressed support for legalizing sports betting in the Buckeye State, lawmakers are having a hard time moving forward because the House and Senate can’t agree on who should run the show.

Although Ohio governor Mike DeWine has expressed support for legalizing sports betting in the Buckeye State, lawmakers are having a hard time moving forward because the House and Senate can’t agree on who should control the endeavor.

Two Sportsbetting Scenarios

The House wants the Ohio Lottery Commission to run things, as is done in New Hampshire and Oregon, while the Senate, along with Ohios’ professional sports teams, are calling for the Ohio Casino Control Commission to be in charge.

Should the lottery gain control, sports betting would be integrated into existing lottery kiosks and would be available at convenience stores, bowling alleys, bars, etc. While there would be many places to bet at, there would only be one sportsbook to choose from. No competition. So if potential bettors don’t like the offerings, they have nowhere else to turn to. 

In the second scenario, the Casino Commission would gain control and the state’s 4 casinos and 7 racinos would be able to get licenses. They could then partner with sportsbooks and offer up to 21 skins. With this plan, sports betting becomes a free market, and consumers would have their choice of where to bet. This is the type of model New Jersey uses, and its sports betting industry is considered very successful.

Ohio Needs a Decision

Choosing a sports betting model is the only issue lawmakers need to deal with. Unlike other states, they don’t have to come to an agreement with Indian tribes and there are no big anti-gamblng lobbies.

Once lawmakers decide on a model for sports betting, a bill will be drafted and it should get the green light. Unfortunately, the state hasn’t made much progress over the past year, but supporters of legalized sports betting hope that the government’s need for a new source of revenue following the pandemic will speed things up.

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