What does Supreme Court ruling on sports gambling mean for Ohio? - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

What does Supreme Court ruling on sports gambling mean for Ohio?

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Legislators in Ohio have responded to the Supreme Court's ruling to overturn a federal law that barred gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports, in most states, giving states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports.

On Monday, The Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The 1992 law barred state-authorized sports gambling, with some exceptions. It made Nevada the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game.

One research firm estimated before the ruling that if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law, 32 states would likely offer sports betting within five years.

The court's decision came in a case from the New Jersey case of Murphy vs. the National Collegiate Athletic Association. New Jersey has fought for nearly ten years to legalize gambling on sports at casinos and racetracks in the state.

The issue with the PASPA arose when state leaders claimed it went against the Tenth Constitutional Amendment, which states, "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Meaning federal law cannot commandeer state law.

According to reports, states like Pennsylvania already had legislation in the making, in hopes that a court case like Murphy vs. the National Athletic Association might win in the Supreme Court. 

Below is a statement from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

The Gaming Expansion legislation, Act 42 of 2017, did specifically authorize Sports Wagering by the Commonwealth's land-based casinos when a Federal court decision was reached that permits a state to regulate sports wagering. The Board is reviewing the court opinion in its entirety to properly understand the full opinion.

The Pennsylvania legislature saw Sports Wagering as a key element of overall gaming expansion and took the initiative prior to this decision to authorize Sports Wagering which does provide some guidelines on implementation.  The next step for Pennsylvania would for be for our staff to draft appropriate regulations and seek approval of those regulations by the Board.  At this time, we cannot provide a timetable on the completion and approval of these regulations or the launch of Sports Wagering in Pennsylvania," Doug Harbach, Communications Director PA Gaming Control Board.

Reports stated some of the legal sport's basics that will appear in Pennsylvania's new legislation. The law permits wagering on both professional and collegiate events, bets may be placed online, on a mobile device or in person, and betters must be at least 21 years of age. It has also been said that license applicants are required to pay a one time fee of $10 million for sports betting. Once this is granted, the licensee's revenue is taxed at a 36% rate.  However, nobody is offering sports betting in PA just yet.

Pennsylvania's quick action has prompted a response from Ohio State Senator, Sean O'Brien. He said,"Pennsylvania is going to allow sports betting so let's get this done so some of the tax revenue stays in Ohio, and benefits people in Ohio. I would like money generated to go to local government funds.  Those funds have been cut drastically and local governments have been struggling to provide adequate funding for police and fire services, courts and more. This could have a positive impact on our state but we need to regulate it correctly. We should look at what other states are doing prior to drafting legislation..."

Although Ohio does not have any legislation written regarding the legalizing of sports betting in the state at this moment, Ohio State Representative, Michele Lepore-Hagan said she believes it's time to act. She stated, "We need to move to legalize this immediately and look at directing money to local governments and transit agencies. Republicans keep short-changing local governments so this would be a revenue generator to help pay for services that people need and local governments provide. When people bet legally it will help fight illegal wagering. I will be looking at different proposals. We will be in session Tuesday so this is something we need to talk about and look at how to make this work. I am interested in having betting kiosks so sports betting would not be limited to just people who live near casinos."

Representative Lepore-Hagan is not the only one willing to work with legislation on legalizing sports betting in Ohio. A spokesperson from the Cordray campaign said, "Given today's ruling, the Cordray-Sutton administration would consider supporting legislation to legalize sports betting and move it out of the shadows and the black market so it can be regulated and used to generate revenue to invest in our communities."

Ohio State Representative Mike O'Brien said that he believes Ohio must gather legislation quickly so that the state does not miss out on an opportunity to gain revenue.

 "I am in favor of this and in agreement with the U.S. Supreme Court. We need to draft and enact legislation soon. Our state was last once already. Ohio waited until after all the surrounding states had already legalized gambling in their states, and our state lost out on a lot of revenue. I want the revenue from sports wagering to be used to replace money taken away from local government funds. That money helps pay for police and fire services in communities. I believe people who are going to bet on sports are going to bet, and people who are against gambling will not bet on sports and will not gamble in the first place."

According to representatives, not all lawmakers are thrilled about the possibility of legalized sports betting in the state. A spokesperson for the DeWine-Husted campaign said, "Mike DeWine has been consistently opposed to gambling in Ohio and his position is unchanged."

Some representatives are on board with the ruling, only as long as the proper education on gambling is introduced. 

State Representative Glenn Holmes said, "The Supreme court ruling gives us a way to keep some of the money here in Ohio and circulate it throughout the community.  I would like an education about gambling addiction included in any bill. In addition, I would like the money geared to manufacturing. Gambling is not true wealth but is discretionary disposable income that leaves. When you manufacture something your creating wealth, and other people benefit, and we all benefit. If the state is going to be involved, let's find a way to circulate that money in Ohio three, or four, or five times before it leaves Ohio. There have to be standards set to this benefits communities. I believe that is extremely important moving forward."

Local organizations that have potential to be affected if this type of legislation goes through, have said that they will not make any changes until they are told to do so. 

Tony Frabbiele, General Manager of Hollywood Gaming in Austintown said, "There will be no immediate changes to our property. If the state begins to make a push to legalize sports wagering, then we will evaluate the possible effects that decision will have on our business."

?21 News is continuing to contact local legislators for their reaction to the ruling. Check back here for updates. 

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