COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Sports betting has officially arrived in Ohio, with residents now able to bet either online or, in some places, in person.
It’s a day a lot of sports fans have been waiting for, including patrons at Parlay, a sports bar in Columbus’ Short North neighborhood. On Sunday afternoon, many patrons could be seen on their cell phones a bit more than usual, with many either making or checking on bets.
Some of those inside Parlay said the bets add to the excitement of watching sports.
“Usually, I only bet like $5 to $10 on a game, but it means a lot to just come here and sweat out a bet on a Sunday,” said Columbus resident Derek Jones. “It’s absolutely phenomenal.”
Betting on sports in Ohio became law after Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 29 more than a year ago.
“It’s awesome,” said Tad Hooks. “I’ve been waiting on this, like, I’ve had to go to Michigan a couple times to make bets when I wanted to and stuff, but now I can just sit here, come watch TVs, and sweat my tickets in.”
However, not everyone is excited about sports betting.
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Addiction Medicine Specialist Dr. Trent Hall said he is worried more people will develop gambling problems.
“If you grow up in a place where gambling is hard to find, if it’s not easy to go out and gamble, you’re much less likely to sink into a cycle that feels out of control to you, and with the change in sports betting, with the fact it’s going to be so accessible, that’s what has us concerned,” Hall said.
Hall said he is not anti-gambling, but just wants people to know the warning signs, like spending more time than planned on betting and borrowing money to gamble.
“Gambling addiction is very rare, it’s less than 1% of the population of the United States, but it’s a devastating chronic health condition that can ruin people’s lives,” he said.
Hook’s friend David Jackson hasn’t downloaded any of the mobile sports betting apps yet, but said he probably will.
“It’s fun, it’s very interactive, kind of go back and forth with your buddies,” Jackson said. “It’s a real good thing, so I’m looking forward to it.”
In addition to kiosks at some Ohio bars and restaurants, sports bets can also be made at the state’s casinos and racinos.