Lawmaker details the case for sports gambling in Ohio - both online and in casinos, racinos

The time is right for Ohio to seriously debate how to move forward with online sports wagering and casino-style sports books under regulation by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, a leading legislator in the process told cleveland.com editors and reporters on Friday.

But, to allow such wagering at any gas station or convenience store now taking Keno bets could be going too far, said state Sen. John Eklund, a Chardon-area Republican.

His answers came in response to editorial board questions about whether Ohio will follow neighboring West Virginia and Pennsylvania into the sports betting arena.

Eklund, after studying the issues for three to four months, said he found it is logical to:

  • Regulate sports gaming through the Ohio Casino Control Commission, rather than the Ohio Lottery as proposed by other legislators.

  • Base in-person betting at casinos and racinos, run by industry professionals who have “developed a broad and deep body of knowledge and experience."

  • Permit online wagering in response to the consumer habits of younger adults so people living far from a casino or racino would being able to “enjoy that activity.” He noted that location-based technology can ensure that people are within Ohio borders when placing bets.

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