- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine voices support of legal sports betting
- Every state that borders Ohio other than Kentucky has already opened a regulated sports betting industry
- Ohio tried and failed to legalize sports betting in 2020
As of this writing, you can legally wager on sports in some capacity in 25 states and Washington DC. The industry floodgates have opened ever since the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act back in May of 2018. PASPA served as the federal ban on sports betting starting in 1992, but SCOTUS ultimately deemed the law unconstitutional.
Nevada was the only state with legal sports betting for decades, but the industry is quickly spreading its way around the US. Ohio is one of the states that has yet to open a legal industry of its own, but that could change in a hurry. On Tuesday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine voiced his support of the legalization of sports betting.
Gov. DeWine said, “Sports gaming is already in Ohio. Ohio’s just not regulating it. This is something that I think is inevitable. It’s coming to Ohio.”
Gov. DeWine was referring to the fact that Ohioans illegally wager millions of dollars every year on sporting events. The easiest argument in favor of legalization is that sports betting is going to happen even if it’s against the law, so why not make it legal and allow states to grab a piece of the pie?
Ohio has no shortage of neighbors with fully operational industries of their own. Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana are among the states that allow people to legally wager on sports. Many in Ohio are traveling across state lines simply to place legal wagers. The only state that borders Ohio that does not currently offer legal sports betting is Kentucky.
The Buckeye State has tried and failed to pass sports betting legislation in the past. Just last May, a sports betting bill made its way through the state House of Representatives before falling flat in the Senate. State Senators preferred their own sports betting bill, but the congressional session came to a close in December without any action on the measure.
Governor DeWine added, “The members of the general assembly are working that process. I will have the opportunity to see what they came up with. I will have the opportunity to weigh in at the appropriate time. But sports gaming is certainly coming to Ohio.”
Eilers and Krejcik Gaming conducted a study that concluded that Ohio’s sports betting market has the potential to generate about $600 million on a yearly basis.
State lawmakers have differed on how to approach sports betting taxation. The aforementioned House bill from last year included an eight percent tax on gross gaming revenue. If that rate makes its way into a new bill that ultimately gets signed into law by Gov. DeWine, Ohio will have one of the lowest sports betting tax rates in the US.
Obviously, there are plenty of interested parties involved considering Ohio’s sports betting industry has the potential to be such a cash cow. There are plenty of entities lobbying to get involved in sports betting. One group you may not have expected to have interest is Ohio’s Grocers Association. A lobbyist representing the association said last month that sports betting should be handled similarly to the state lottery, which means it would be allowed in local grocery stores.
That lobbyist, Joe Ewig, said to the Ohio Senate Select Committee, “We are not here today to advocate for opening a sportsbook in each grocery store, having tables set up through our locations or aisles. But we ask you to consider making us a part of the sports gaming system.”