Ohio eyes legal sports betting, and cooperation among states

Interstate Sports Betting Compacts? Ohio Lawmaker Pitches Them At DC Summit

Interstate sports betting

WASHINGTON — Interstate sports betting compacts might be a thing in the U.S. if one lawmaker has his way.

Next year, sports betting is expected to be a hot-button topic across the country as more lawmakers look to capitalize on the demise of the federal ban which limited single-game betting to Nevada.

But as more sports betting bills begin to pop up, each with their own set of rules and regulations, one Ohio lawmaker believes a multistate agreement might be the key to stomping out the illegal market.

Here is what Ohio state Sen. Bill Coley had to say at Thursdays US Sports Betting Policy Summit in Washington:

“If you work out a state-to-state compact where data is shared, and you agree on some protocols, I think you can get rid of a lot of the bad things people are worried about. Things like casinos not taking bets, anti-money laundering, match-fixing, when you have the ability to look at that, it makes it hard for the bad guys to run and hide.”

The federal Wire Act stands as a potential deterrent for such sharing of some forms of sports betting information currently, without interstate cooperation. Congress also held a hearing about possible federal regulation, but no action seems imminent.

The four-hour conference on Capitol Hill was put on by sports data company Sportradar, and featured several key lawmakers and casino stakeholders.

Joining Coley during a discussion on state regulations were:

  • Michigan state Rep. Brandt Iden
  • Art Manteris, vice president race and sports operations for stations casinos
  • Stanton Dodge, chief legal officer for DraftKings

Ohio sports betting in 2019

When asked if such a shared data concept would be featured in an Ohio sports betting bill, Coley said, “I think you can guarantee it.”

However, Manteris said states should proceed with caution when considering such a method.

“What you’re proposing is risky,” Manteris said. “If there is federal oversight or interstate compacts, there is always the risk of over-regulation.”

But despite that states continue to implement their versions of sports betting bills, which could, in theory, lead to 50 different bills, one model viewed as the blueprint is the Nevada model.

Manteris said the Nevada sports betting model can be copied and should be looked at by other states to emulate.

“Our model has worked well for 50 years and we have a lot to be proud of,” Manteris said.

Coley disagreed by saying, it was a great model “for the time that it was set up.”

“I’m not dissing the Nevada model, but I think we need to take it further,” Coley said.

The senator elaborated by saying there needs to be some sort of governmental agency, that screens and monitors all suspicious betting activity. Preferably located in Nevada, Coley called this central hub, a “warehouse” of sorts.

“We should be sharing that data across state lines,” Coley said.

Hungry for more

There certainly is an appetite for sports betting in the Buckeye State. Complete with a variety of land-based and race-track casinos, a state lottery and a population of more than 11 million, the state is primed for gambling activity.

Not to mention neighboring West Virginia has begun taking wagers, and Pennsylvania will be up and running with legal wagering, perhaps within days. Ohio is now looking to play catch up.

Currently, H 714 and S 316, are both placeholder bills indicating intentions are there for legalized sports betting.

Nicholaus Garcia
- Nick comes from West Texas where he graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in psychology. After a five-year stint in Chicago, where he wrote about local politics and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago, he moved to Washington, D.C. to write about issues related to gambling policy, sports betting and responsible gaming.
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