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Gambling CEO Discusses Ohio's Possible Future in Sports Betting

picture of the inside of a casino

Analysts following sports betting say it very likely will come to Ohio, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has legalized it across the country. The main questions are “when” and “where." The state’s established gambling institutions are already lobbying for what they want.

About $5 billion is bet on sports in Las Vegas every year, but that’s only about 3 percent of the amount that’s wagered illegally. 

The president and CEO of the American Gaming Association says sports betting isn’t a big money maker for casinos. But he says it’s a great way to bring in customers. And Jeff Freeman says he hopes Ohio will allow sports betting only in the state’s already established gaming venues.

“The casino gaming companies, the racinos – they’re already existing investments here.  I think that’s a good outlet to begin with sports betting, and then consider other opportunities down the road,” he said.

A longtime advocate of expanding gambling says he’s working on a ballot issue that would permit sports betting in bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and other places.

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.