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Ohio Professional Sports Team Call On Lawmakers To Legalize Sports Betting

A man watches a baseball game in a casino.
John Locher
Associated Press

Ohio's professional sports teams are calling on legislators to break the log jam in the debate over legalizing sports betting before they go on summer break.

Ohio lawmakers are locked in a stalemate over plans to legalize sports betting. The holdup is over which agency should be in charge of regulating the industry, either the Ohio Lottery and by the Ohio Casino Commision.

The Ohio Professional Sports Coalition says the state is leaving millions of dollars on the table the longer it takes to legalize sports betting. 

Curt Steiner, Ohio Professional Sports Coalition spokesman, said other states have done it, so there’s already a playbook.

"Ohio has the opportunity to get it right and the way to get it right is to allow the sports teams to have fair market access, to have healthy competition, to limit the number of licenses, and to give fans the opportunities to engage with their favorite teams," he said. 

The pro sports teams want the Ohio Casino Control Commission to control sports gaming at the state’s four casinos and seven racinos.

But other groups have said the Ohio Lottery Commission could allow for gaming at lottery terminals across the state.

Lawmakers say they are working on crafting a bill. However, legislation has yet to be introduced this year.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.