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Why the sports betting bill in the Ohio Legislature is in limbo right now

Sports betting in Ohio has been tied up in debate for months, since the Senate added its sports gambling bill to a House measure on veterans’ ID cards this summer. The House rejected that change. Now, the legislation is now in the conference committee. And there is a sticking point in those negotiations.

The bill would put sports gambling under the Casino Control Commission, allowing for one brick and mortar sportsbook in each of Ohio’s three big cities and 33 others around the state. Republican Sen. Pres. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) says he doesn’t want to give too much of an edge to out-of-state casino operators who have a constitutional monopoly

“That’s a huge advantage for those folks and I don’t think we should continue to extend these advantages to these out-of-state gambling interests. We ought to have an opportunity for the folks in Ohio, if we are going to have sports betting which I think is inevitable, it is really that one issue that is holding it up,” Huffman says.

But there are still questions about whether gambling can be expanded this way or if it must be done through the Ohio Lottery Commission, which many House members have wanted.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.