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Ohio Legislators Propose Two Different Sports Betting Bills

picture of the inside of a casino
Ohio legislators have proposed two different bills that would legalize sports betting; in one, it would only be legal in casinos like this one, but in the other, it'd be legal at any lottery vendor.

Ohio lawmakers have been considering legalizing sports betting ever since the US 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 and Brigid Kelly 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. Republican Sen. John Eklund introduced a sports betting bill with Democrat Sean O’Brien, 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 concerned about underage players and about people who don’t know anything about sports.

Correction:  This article originally stated that the U.S. Supreme Court made its ruling on sports betting last June. 

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.