Ohio takes first steps to legalize sports betting

Two lawmakers introduced a bill on Tuesday to legalize and regulate sports betting on professional and college athletics across the state.

Legislation co-sponsored by state Reps. Dave Greenspan, R-Westlake, and Brigid Kelly, D-Cincinnati, would allow the Ohio Lottery Commission administer sports betting and give the Casino Control Commission authority to investigate sports wagering.

The bill also calls for a 10-percent tax to be applied to all sports betting and earmarked for education and gambling addiction programs.

A 6-3 ruling last year from the U.S. Supreme Court found the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which largely banned sports betting, to be unconstitutional. The decision opens the door for states to legalize sports betting.

Already, six states have joined Nevada in allowing sports betting and legalization is being considered in more than 20 others.

Bets could be placed at Ohio’s 11 casinos and racinos as well as fraternal and veterans organizations. Greenspan and Kelly maintain that if the courts approve mobile and online sports betting, it would be allowed in Ohio.

A competing sports betting bill, sponsored by state Sens. John Eklund, R-Chardon, and Sean O’Brien, D-Cortland, was introduced in the Ohio Senate last month.

Information from the Associated Press is included in this report.

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