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Sports betting in Ohio could face legal challenges

Questions have already been raised about Ohio Casino Control Commission overseeing the rollout.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to sign the state’s first sports gambling bill in the next 10 days. But lawsuit could follow preventing the state from launching sports gambling in January 2023.

Among the concerns is the Ohio Casino Control Commission is running it, not the Ohio Lottery.

“I believe there will be litigation over this issue,” said Senator Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg), who is the lead sponsor of the sports betting legislation.

John Cranley, a Democrat running for governor, issued a statement saying DeWine should veto the sports betting bill.

“By putting the Casino Control Commission in charge of most sports betting, the bill seeks to steal money guaranteed to public education under the Ohio Constitution. DeWine should order the Ohio Lottery Commission to immediately authorize sports betting. Just because the house always wins doesn’t mean public schools should always lose.”

A spokesperson from the Ohio Casino Control Commission told 10TV: “The Ohio Constitution expressly prohibits lotteries, excluding state-run lotteries, and is silent on other forms of gambling prohibition. Due to that, the General Assembly has previously expanded gambling without any constitutional amendments (eg. horse racing and charitable casino nights). The General Assembly has exercised that same authority in this case.”

But that’s not the only issue that could slow the sports gambling bill from starting on time. Under the bill, 98% of the money will be spent to support K-12 public and private education.

Cranley raised issues about that as well, saying gambling proceeds have to go to public education unless they’re for the four casinos.

“The state has made a policy decision that we allow school choice. I support school choice and people should have that choice so yes this money will go to both public and private education,” Antani said.

You can read more about the sports gambling bill here.

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