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Lawmakers Looking At Dueling Bills On Sports Gambling

Both bills would allow sports betting at Jack Cleveland and Ohio's three other casinos.
Both bills would allow sports betting at Jack Cleveland and Ohio's three other casinos.

Ohio lawmakers have been considering legalizing sports betting ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that states are allowed to do that. But there are two very different ideas on how to make that happen.

The bipartisan bill from Reps. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) and Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) would have sports betting in casinos, racinos and fraternal and veterans’ organizations at first.

But because it would be regulated by the Ohio Lottery, sports gambling could be expanded to bars, stores and other lottery vendors.

Sen. John Eklund (R-Munson Twp.) introduced a sports betting bill with Sen. Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta), which would name the Casino Control Commission as the regulator, and casinos and racinos as the only locations.

“You would not see sports betting cards in your 7-11 next to the Keno board," Eklund said.

Eklund said there’s a big difference between sports gambling and lottery games. And he’s also concerned about underage players and about wide availability allowing people who don’t know anything about sports to gamble and lose money.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.