COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The odds are getting longer for a smooth launch for sports betting in Ohio, scheduled for Jan. 1, 2023.
As previously reported, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Ohio Grocers Association are both sounding the alarm about the sports gaming rules proposed by the Ohio Lottery Commission, saying the rules will cut too many of their members out of the process.
Ohio House Majority Leader Rep. Bill Seitz said those proposed gaming rules do not reflect the intent of the law.
Just as important as placing a bet is cashing in your winnings, and that’s the problem.
There will be limits to the kinds of restaurants, bars, and bowling alleys that can actually host gaming kiosks and allow a sports bet to be placed.
When Seitz crafted the state’s gaming law, he insisted that any lottery retailer should be able to cash the winning sports bet ticket.
The proposed rules say winners must cash in at the place they purchased the ticket, which cuts out thousands of grocery stores and small retailers that are already lottery agents.
Dan Tierney, a spokesperson for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, said the public and businesses “will have the opportunity to object to the draft rules.”
He also said it’s possible currently lottery outlets might have to contract with game-payout machine vendors because current lottery machines won’t be connected to the sports betting system.
“The lottery recognizes that technological problem and they have indicated to me, ‘We intend to keep working on this because we know what you intended, state legislature, or we just have to work through the technological aspects of how we make this happen,’” Seitz said.
More than 1,000 businesses are expected to apply to be sports betting sites and there are nearly 10,000 lottery outlets in the state, meaning thousands of payout machines would have to be in place in less than six months, making the promise to Ohio lottery retailers tough to keep.
“I am working with the groceries, the NFIB, and other groups and encourage the lottery commission to solve this problem between now and the first of the year,” Seitz said.
The governor’s office points out that if you place a sports bet in Las Vegas, you are required to cash in at the place of purchase, even if you have to do that by mail.
Seitz said lawmakers always intended to the state’s lottery retailers to benefit from sports betting by being part of the process.