Featured columnist Jeff Ifrah advocates for legal online gaming in Ohio
February 24, 2020
Basketball fans across Ohio are gearing up for the start of the 2020 NCAA Tournament coming to Dayton and Cleveland next month. Fans are getting ready to fill out their March Madness brackets to bet on their favorite teams. Over a dozen states will reap the benefits of legal sports betting this year, including Ohio’s neighboring states, but Ohioans will once again miss out on the revenue opportunities and consumer protections that regulated and legal sports betting would have provided during the tournament.
Sports betting has been gaining momentum in Ohio, mirroring a nationwide trend after the Supreme Court ruled in May 2018 that states can legalize sports betting. In the past 18 months, 20 states have legalized sports betting and legislation is currently being considered in another 16 states. But state lawmakers in Ohio have yet to pass a bill. As a result, Ohioans will continue to place their bets outside of Ohio this year — either crossing state lines into the neighboring states of Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, where sports betting is currently legal, or continuing to place their bets with their mobile device through unregulated offshore sites. This is a missed opportunity for Ohio.