COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Will Ohio’s legal sports gaming program be ready for its scheduled January launch?
Don’t bet on it.
Sources said the Ohio Lottery Commission’s proposed rules are getting so much pushback from businesses and potential sports betting outlets that they might have to be rewritten.
The problem is the cash-out rules.
The rules require the sports gaming sites bot be ready to pay out, in cash, to gambling winners as soon as the sporting event ends.
For a small business on a big sporting event night, that could mean having tens of thousands of dollars in cash on hand.
The Ohio branch of the National Federation of Independent Business said that’s financially impossible for some small business owners, and it also sets sports betting operators up as targets for robberies.
New numbers show more than 1,000 Ohio businesses are interested in being licensed sports betting establishments.
“It shows that they know their customers are demanding that product and they want to be able to deliver that,” said Chris Ferruso with the National Federation of Independent Business. “I’m fearful that a lot of our members, our small businesses, are going to say, after they understand the rules, ‘This is too much of a risk for me to take on. This is too much of a liability for me to take on.’”
The Ohio Grocers Association is also objecting to the rule that would require sports bettors to cash in their winning tickets at the place of purchase, cutting out the 600 Ohio grocery stores that are already Ohio lottery outlets.
The Ohio Lottery Commission, however, said its plans to launch sports betting in January remain on track but continues to work out the details when it comes to compensating players.
Sports betting locations are recommended under Ohio law to provide cash prizes of $600 or less at its betting locations, but the commission said hosts can choose to limit the amount of prizes they’re willing to cash.
“Just like with traditional lottery, ensuring that players receive their sports gaming prizes promptly is crucial to the success of the new type C sports gaming program and we continue to encourage proprietors to propose as many cashing options as possible,” the commission said in a statement.
Read the full statement from the Ohio Lottery Commission below:
The Lottery is on track to launch sports betting on the universal start date of January 1, 2023. Just like with traditional lottery, ensuring that players receive their sports gaming prizes promptly is crucial to the success of the new type C sports gaming program and we continue to encourage proprietors to propose as many cashing options as possible. Proprietors may choose to offer validation options at non-host locations; however, until the proprietors are licensed and propose their solutions, we cannot state with certainty how validations and cashing through multiple systems will be accomplished compared to traditional lottery cashing processes that utilizes one provider. Despite technological hurdles connecting multiple systems, we do hope to offer expanded cashing capabilities for type C sports gaming in the future and will work with all of the proprietors on a solution, but it will not be operational on the universal start date.
When the Legislature passed House Bill 29, it authorized the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) to license up to 20 type C sports gaming proprietors and tasked the Lottery with contracting with the licensed proprietors to offer type C sports gaming at licensed host locations. Currently, the Lottery is working through the CSI and JCARR rulemaking processes to implement its duties under the new law to ensure that type C sports gaming is conducted with the utmost integrity, just as all lottery games have been since the Lottery’s inception in 1974.
The prize payment rule referenced is based off of Ohio Revised Code Section 3770.25 (C) that articulates the methods by which a player may receive their lottery sports gaming prizes. One of those methods is “in cash at any type C sports gaming host” and for security purposes, the rule clarifies that payments in-cash at a host should be of $600 or less, just like current practices with traditional lottery prizes. However, it should be noted that this is not a mandatory requirement and hosts may choose to limit the amount of prizes they’re willing to cash. Additionally, all hosts and proprietors must comply with the minimum internal controls and security standards that are articulated in both the OCCC and Lottery’s rules and operating procedures.Ohio Lottery Commission