Ohio Statehouse News

Ohio lawmakers working to legalize sports gambling

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) -- Ohio lawmakers are beginning the process of officially legalizing sports gambling with the introduction of two bills at the Statehouse.

In the recent past, while sports gambling was still considered illegal, statistics showed that 18 to 25-year-old males were the group at highest risk of developing problems, which lines up with what some say could be a major issue.

Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and soccer…all of the major sports are represented in Ohio and structured gambling on all of them is likely to be coming in the future according to state lawmakers.

Rep. David Greenspan said, “There are no preconceived notions as to what that pathway may look like nor is there a time line. We’re not beholden to a time line to get it done by a certain date, nor are we going to be forced to do something that is not ready.”

There is a lot of concern over young adults being able to gamble, especially if the state opens collegiate sports to such betting.

“I think for 18-year-olds you’re opening a can of worms because it’s the first time that they’re coming to college, it’s like having a credit card, you know it’s tough to have the checks and balances and as a parent I would be petrified to have to deal with that, as a coach it very much scares me,” said Dixie Jeffers, Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Capital University.

Sports gambling on collegiate sports could be a temptation for players who are not being paid to play while the schools reap the financial rewards of their output.

Roger Ingles, Director of Athletics at Capital University, said, “The last thing you want to do is have that taint around your programs that maybe a game ended a little lower score or somebody didn’t play as well and then there is always that question of you know who’s involved, or who might be involved in trying to keep a score at a certain point or a result in a different way.”

The bill is still a long way from being a reality and lawmakers putting it together say they’re committed to working with all interested parties to ensure that the best bill for Ohio comes out of this process.

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