Ohio’s future status regarding the potential legalization of sports betting almost seems assured thanks to two bills currently pending within state legislature that would allow for mobile betting and wagering on college sports. The big question, however, is centered on who will take responsibility – the Ohio Casino Commission or the Ohio Lottery Commission.
According to a report published this week by the Akron Beacon Journal the jury is still out, with State Senator Sean O’Brien yet to be convinced that sports wagering should fall under the auspices of the lottery. He is the sponsor of Bill 111, which falls on the side of the Casino Commission to run betting. That Bill would pave the way for legal sports books in the state’s 11 casinos and racinos, levying a 6.25% tax on profits, one of the lowest rates in the US.
The second piece of legislation, House Bill 194, brings with it a 10% tax rate which would be earmarked for education and gambling addiction treatment. It would also hand control to the lottery, enabling customers to access sportsbooks at circa 1,200 fraternal and veterans organizations and 3,000 bars where lottery terminals are already established.
Both plans, however, are not big money spinners for Ohio’s coffers, with O’Brien estimating a return of between $8m to $12m per annum.
According to the Journal, Dave Greenspan, sponsor of the House bill, believes that eliminating the black-market from sports betting in Ohio is as important as the tax that legal wagering might generate.
He was quoted: “We have to recognize that this is happening illegally. Illegal phone apps for sports betting don’t direct people to gambling-addiction services if they suddenly increase the number or dollar amounts of their bets. Apps don’t report suspicious betting activity to universities or professional sports leagues. And their companies, which are often located offshore, aren’t subject to oversight.”
Whichever of the two Bills wins the day, one thing appears certain – that betting on college games will be given the green light, if for no other reason than to edge out the black market bookies.