Ballot Proposal Would Legalize Sports Betting in Ohio

posted by Scott Jennings - 

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WTVN)--Fresh off of the US Supreme Court's decision regarding the prohibition of sports betting in many states, a ballot initiative is in the works to have voters approve a constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting here in Ohio.

The move is being led by Rick Lurtzman, who organized the successful ballot initiative in 2009 that established Ohio's four casinos, in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo.

Lurtzman says this proposal would open up the practice to Ohio's bars, restaurants, fraternal organizations, and entertainment facilities.

Lurtzman says there's an opportunity for additional tax revenue for the state, additional jobs, and allow a possible revival of many establishments across Ohio.

"If it goes to the four casinos an seven racetracks, it's going to cut out hundreds, probably thousands, of small mom-and-pop businesses throughout the state--bars, sports bars, fraternals, entertainment facilities, and really they have to be inclusive in this issue," Lertzman said.

Lertzman is not concerned about the increased possibility of problem gambling with the implementation of sports betting, saying, "gambling's out there, so if there's a problem gambler, they have no problem finding some form of gambling."

He adds the casino issue earmarks money for gambling addition programs.

As for the timing of the issue before voters, he says it's too late to push for the issue this November, with the signatures due for that election by late June, so Open Ohio is aiming to get it before voters in November 2019.

(photo courtesy Getty Images)

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