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Sports Betting is Likely Heading for a Ballot in Ohio

photo of Barley House

Ohio lawmakers and the major party candidates for governor are considering the state’s options in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for legalized sports betting. One would-be developer says he won’t wait for officials to act.

Rick Lertzman says his proposal would allow sports betting in hundreds of restaurants, bars, fraternal clubs and entertainment venues. And he’s opposed to sports betting being limited only to Ohio’s four casinos and seven horse-racing tracks, which he calls a “monopolistic” idea. 

Lertzman says he’s aiming for the November 2019 ballot, and he says he’ll still beat state lawmakers to the issue.

“By the time they act on this, every state around us, like we had in 2009, will have sports betting,” he said.

Among Lertzman’s previous ballot efforts was a failed proposal for a casino in Wilmington in 2008, when Penn National spent more than $38 million against the $21 million his group spent.

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.