Sports fans hoping to bet for - or against - the Browns will likely not be able to do so lawfully in Ohio this year.
Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof said Senate Bill 316, which would legalize sports gambling, will be vetted in a committee after the November election. The bill will probably not hit the Senate floor for a vote in 2018, said Obhof, a Medina Republican.
In May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled each state could decide whether to legalize sports betting. At the time, only Nevada allowed full-scale sports gambling. But other states are now starting to legalize it.
SB 316 has no specifics. Sponsors said they introduced the bill as a place-holder among the dozens of bills in the Senate, and they plan to fill in the details later. A House bill also lacks details and will likely contain the same provisions as the Senate's bill.
Obhof said he personally believes the legislature doesn't have the right to legalize sports gambling. He said the Ohio Constitution prohibits gambling, except under specific circumstances - which the voters approved. He believes any sports betting would also have to be amended into the constitution by a vote.
"I think there is a pretty serious legal question of -- irrespective of the federal court decision this year - whether or not we could even have sports gaming here, if that's something the legislature could even authorize, even if they wanted to," he said.