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Government & Politics

A bill that would make sports betting legal in Ohio is still in limbo

a sports gambling venue in Las Vegas
Customers visit a sports gambling venue in Las Vegas. A bill that would legalize sports betting in Ohio is still in negotiations.

Sports betting in Ohio has been tied up in debate for months, since the Senate added its sports gambling bill to a House measure on veterans’ ID cards this summer. The House rejected that change. Now, the legislation is in the conference committee. And there is a sticking point in those negotiations.

The bill would put sports gambling under the Casino Control Commission, allowing for one brick and mortar sportsbook in each of Ohio’s three big cities and 33 others around the state. Republican Sen. Pres. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) says he doesn’t want to give too much of an edge to out-of-state casino operators who have a constitutional monopoly.

“That’s a huge advantage for those folks, and I don’t think we should continue to extend these advantages to these out-of-state gambling interests. We ought to have an opportunity for the folks in Ohio, if we are going to have sports betting which I think is inevitable, it is really that one issue that is holding it up,” Huffman said.

But there are still questions about whether gambling can be expanded this way or if it must be done through the Ohio Lottery Commission, which many House members have wanted.
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