Summary: Sports betting legislation is up for discussion in Ohio, with one senator optimistic that the option will come to pass in the state.
Senator John Eklund of Ohio is a strong supporter of sports betting for his state. He has plans to introduce legislation involving the gambling industry, and feels hopeful that the bill he creates will be able to move forward.
Eklund spoke with Legal Sports Report recently, stating that he feels the chances of a bill passing are better than 50/50. The Senator feels that the number of groups and organizations that support the option are far more than those who are opposed.
S 316 is a placeholder bill created by Eklund and Senator Sean O’Brien, one that would at least get the subject on the table for discussion. In the House, a companion bill has been created by Dan Greenspan. Eklund plans on having the details of S 316 ready by the end of the month to hopefully get the ball rolling with sports betting legislation.
The Senator began discussing sports betting in 2018 and at the time, was not in favor of mobile wagering. In the beginning, Eklund believed that the safeguards were not in place and mobile wagering would be unsafe for the younger generation. However, he is now aware of how the option can be offered with security measures in place.
Are Integrity Fees Considered?
Eklund understands that professional sports leagues are interested in integrity fees and want to be given a payment for protecting their games. Eklund is not so sure that the integrity fees need to be paid. For now, it seems the Senator is not going to offer this option. However, he has said that he will see about what will be done in the future.
Currently, leagues are not being paid integrity fees from the billions wagers legally as well as illegally in the United States. So far, the majority of the states offering sports betting are not providing integrity fees and they feel that the leagues are already ensuring integrity so why should they pay now?
Big revenues should be on the way if sports betting is approved in Ohio. To get the ball rolling, Eklund will be filling in his placeholder bill from 2018. However, the process has taken longer than the Senator has expected it to.
Stakeholders are agreeable that Ohio should have regulated sports betting. There are limitations as to how much the new industry would create for the state, but it would be new revenues none the less. There will be issues that will have to be dealt with involving the new industry such as what type of betting will be allowed, who will be able to offer wagering, who the regulator will be and if online gaming will be offered.
According to Eklund, he has already received four different drafted bills from stakeholders involving sports betting. Shareholders include fraternal organizations, racetracks and casinos. It seems several groups are interested, so all the details will have to be hammered out before the bill can move forward.
It will be interesting to see how the state progresses once the bill is filled in by Senator Eklund. Ohio might soon be the next state to get started in the sports betting industry.