Not Everyone’s Happy with the Ohio Sports Gambling Bill

The long wait for sports gambling to be made in Ohio, USA, is almost over. This week has seen the Ohio Senate pass the Sports Gambling bill, but it has already run into a few problems.

The bill received overwhelming support with 30 in favour, two against and one abstaining. That was Sen. Matt Dolan (Republican) due to having a partial ownership stake in the Cleveland Indians. However, the wording of the bill hasn’t pleased everyone who has read them.

One part of the bill says that only those counties in the state that have over 100,000 residents can apply for a bricks and mortar sportsbook. Even when there are the necessary number of residents, the maximum number allowed is three.

One key factor in the coming weeks will be the kind of licenses that professional sports teams in Cleveland and Cincinnati will apply for. If they go for the bricks and mortar sportsbooks rather than mobile apps, then that’s going to cause problems for the casinos and racinos. After years of hoping for the laws to be changed, they could find them left out in the cold now there is legalization.

Sen. Nathan Manning (Republican) was one of the joint sponsors of the Sports Gambling Bill. He believes that the casinos and racinos being shut out is “certainly a possibility.” It’s also been said that of the 88 counties in Ohio, only 27 of them will be able to have sports betting.

Sports betting will be managed by the Casino Control Commission. That’s also a controversial issue as some believe that it should be the Ohio Lottery in control. A bill that was discussed last year would have seen just that happen. There has been calls for lottery retailers to also have the ability to offer their customers sports betting, though on a small level.

Greg Beswick from the Fair Gaming Coalition of Ohio said that the ideal situation would be “the casinos and racinos have sports betting. That’s where the large bets can go. But let the 10,700 small businesses that are lottery providers be able to participate at this at the keno kiosks that you see in businesses throughout the state.”

The bill that was passed by the Senate had seen 45 amendments made during its committee stage. As if often the case when such bills are passed, there are restrictions placed on what events wagers can be placed on.

It’s good to see young talent make its way through to the first team. Not such good news for gamblers though. If there are competitors that are under the age of 18, then no bets will be allowed. That will include bans on betting on some women’s tennis tournaments and women’s golf tournaments. The next few months are going to be interesting one in Ohio.