Ohio Would Top Nation In Number Of Sports Betting Locations, Lawmaker Says

On Thursday, the state of Ohio held its first public hearing in Columbus on plans to legalize and regulate sports wagering within its borders. It was the first step in what could be a multi-year process to kick of legal sports wagering in the Buckeye State.

The House Finance Committee discussed a bill from state lawmakers Dave Greenspan and Brigid Kelly. Their co-sponsored legislation was introduced on April 9, and it calls for the Ohio Lottery Commission to be the regulator of up to 1,000 brick-and-stick sports betting locations.

Under their vision for Ohio sports betting, the 11 casinos and racinos, as well as fraternal and veterans organizations with a liquor license, could offer sports betting in some form. Establishments like a veterans hall wouldn’t have a Las Vegas-style sportsbook, but would have a sports betting terminal.

The bill is still a work in progress, Greenspan and Kelly stated Thursday, but they seem committed to allowing sports betting in b&m facilities throughout the state. They said there could be hundreds of them, which would give Ohio more b&m locations for placing a sports bet than any other state.

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Worries of Online Gambling Crackdown Spur States to Action

One year after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized sports betting, the Trump administration is digging in for a new showdown with states that want online poker and other forms of internet gambling to also get a green light.

The Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department, normally considered a referee within the executive branch, fired the first shots with an opinion dated Nov. 2 that was made public earlier this year.

“While the Wire Act is not a model of artful drafting, we conclude that the words of the statute are sufficiently clear and that all but one of its prohibitions sweep beyond sports gambling,” the opinion states.

This conclusion ran counter, however, to one the Justice Department reached in 2011 under former President Barack Obama. Though the policy reversal lacks the force of law, its suggestion of a pending government crackdown has left online gaming companies confounded. Politicians have eyed ulterior motives meanwhile in the Trump administration’s sudden reliance on a 1961 law used by Attorney General Robert Kennedy to fight the mafia. 

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The Impact of Legal Sports Betting: 60% of Now-Legal Bettors Had Never Wagered Before

Just a little over six months ago, sports betting in the United States was legal in one place only, Nevada, and it had been like that since 1949. 

A lot can happen in half of a year, though, and as it stands today, sports wagering is legal in one form or another in eight states total. New Jersey opened up the legalization floodgates in June 2018 after a Supreme Court battle and Delaware, West Virginia, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico quickly followed suit. 

Depending on what state they call home, gamblers can now place fully legal sports wagers through an online sportsbook like DraftKings or at a brick-and-mortar casino, instead of navigating the murky waters of bookies and offshore websites. 

What kind of impact has legalized sports wagering had on bettors that reside in the aforementioned states?

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If sports betting is legalized in Ohio, the state Casino Control Commission should police it: editorial

The General Assembly is likely to legalize sports betting in Ohio -- not because it’s something Ohio really needs or lawmakers want.

Rather, as was true with medical marijuana, it’s something too many Ohioans can be convinced they should have via a costly referendum campaign that won’t do what’s needed to safeguard the state’s interests.

Without appropriate safeguards, for instance, sports wagering is more likely to corrupt athletics -- and cheat Ohioans. And with neighboring states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia already having legalized sports betting, one inevitable pro-sports-betting argument at the Statehouse will be that Ohio will lose revenue to its neighbors unless it does the same.

Either way, far better that legislators write a plan after careful analysis and hearings, than to have sports betting foisted on Ohioans via a special-interest ballot issue.

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Column: Sales by lottery retailers would boost funding for education

As Ohio debates the best path to enter the legal sports betting arena, it is imperative that we do it right the first time. That means crafting a system that maximizes money for the state and enhances the business climate.

Today, legislators are debating two separate approaches: Senate Bill 111 would put the casinos in charge but does not specify how the proceeds would be spent; House Bill 194 would place sports betting under the Ohio Lottery Commission so profits would go to education.

The lottery offers the best path forward.

Ohio already made a major blunder by allowing casinos to write their own rules and create their own monopoly through a 2009 ballot issue. Casinos falsely sold the measure as a way to generate quick cash and boost economic development. Consider the recent comments of Matthew Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission: “All of them (casino projections) were wrong.″

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From lottery tickets to Keno and finally casinos, Ohio now appears heading down the path to expand gambling once again - this time by offering wagering on pro and college sports.

Separate bills with bipartisan support have been offered in the Ohio House and Ohio Senate. And Gov. Mike DeWine has said he expects approval sometime over the next several months.

All this because the U.S. Supreme Court last May opened up the possibility of sports wagering in any state. A year later, sports bets are now legal in eight states, including neighboring Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

How did we get to this point and what are the issues ahead?

A wide variety of gambling is already legal in Ohio:

The Ohio Lottery in 1974 began selling lottery tickets, in 2008 added Keno with drawings every four minutes, and in 2012 expanded again with slot machines at racinos.

Separately, Ohio has four casinos, the first opening in Cle veland in 2012. The casinos have table games, poker rooms and a wider range of slots than permitted at the seven racinos.

The Ohio legislature created the Ohio Racing Commission in 1933 to reg ulate betting on horses.

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Should sports gambling become legal in Illinois, will you be able to wager on Illini, Wildcats or Huskies? Don't bet on it.

For any proud alum of an Illinois university awaiting the day when you can place a legal sports wager on your alma mater, consider this scenario:

You’ve got a hunch the Fighting Illini are finally going to beat mighty Ohio State on the gridiron, or at least lose by fewer points than Las Vegas has predicted. You walk into one of the state’s casinos, cash in hand, only to be turned away at the betting window.

The reason? The Illini are playing at home. Had the game been scheduled for Columbus, your bet would have been accepted.

That’s the peculiar compromise a lawmaker is considering to soothe athletic directors worried that legalized college sports betting in Illinois could lead to point shaving, leaks of sensitive information and other corruption.

In a letter sent last month to Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state legislators, the officials said lawmakers should exclude college sports from the gambling bill going through the General Assembly. Barring that, they said, legislators should make college games off-limits if they feature in-state teams or are contested within Illinois’ borders.

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Legislator pushes sports gambling plan that would fall under Ohio Lottery Commission

A state legislator behind a plan to legalize sports gambling is making his case that Ohio should join neighboring states in permitting such wagering, and that the Ohio Lottery Commission is the legal and best option to serve as the regulator.

Rep. Dave Greenspan’s plan introduced in the Ohio House differs from a Senate proposal that would instead put the Ohio Casino Control Commission in charge of regulating sports betting. But the competing plans are in agreement that wagering would take place in Ohio’s casinos, racinos and online.

“I believe we will have sports gaming in the state,” Greenspan told cleveland.com editors and reporters on Monday.

Greenspan, a Westlake Republican, said that under the House bill he is co-sponsoring with Cincinnati Democrat Brigid Kelly, betting could start about six months after the governor’s signature. But he declined to guess how long it will take to work out a deal in the legislature.

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Ohio Sports Betting Bills No Longer Clash On Mobile Platforms

Ohio is very, very unlikely to legalize sports betting this year, but a major rift between the two sports betting bills on the table has been resolved.

In mid-March, the Ohio Senate saw the introduction of the state’s first ever full-fledged sports betting bill. It calls for mobile sports wagering statewide. Just a few weeks later, another bill was filed, this time in the House. It didn’t contain mobile betting provisions.

That’s not the situation anymore.

According to Cleveland.com, the House bill is still undergoing changes, one of which altered the bill to call for statewide mobile betting, a necessary component of any thriving legal and regulated market. We’ll spare you the tedium of getting into the numbers, but look at New Jersey’s handle if you’re curious.

It’s a great development that both of Ohio’s sports betting bills call for online wagering, preventing a possibly contentious and surely messy debate about whether Ohio’s market can be competitive with unregulated offshore websites and apps. Without mobile, Ohio bettors would find the offshore offerings attractive compared to the legal offerings.

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Study warns loot boxes linked to gambling behavior in some gamers

A new study has validated concerns about ‘loot boxes’ in video games, confirming that they are linked to problematic gambling behaviors in some players. These issues span different aspects of loot boxes, including cases where players spend too much money on loot boxes in hopes of getting a rare item and playing a game too long in order to earn more loot boxes.

Loot boxes are increasingly common in-game elements where players open a crate, box, chest, or some other similar virtual storage item to reveal rewards inside. Many games work by offering players a small number of loot boxes either randomly or as a result of grinding away in long hours of gameplay; to get more, players are often required to spend either real or virtual currency (the latter of which is often available to purchase with real money).

In addition to offering a potential rush for players who don’t know what to expect from the box, these loot crates often also restrict valuable and actually useful items to rare quantities, meaning players typically end up with low-value and useless items like verbal emotes and new weapon skins.

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How To Be The Casino's Landlord

Back in the early 2000s, I used to write a column called "The Gaming Investor" for Casino Player magazine. As a result, I had a front-row seat to the gradual transformation that's taken place in the casino business over the years.

The days of cheap drinks and 99-cent shrimp cocktails are sadly gone for the most part. Once considered loss-leaders just to lure in gamblers, property owners have invested heavily to renovate and update their lounges, showrooms and buffets. These ancillary areas of operation now take in more cash than the casinos. As a result, Las Vegas isn't the Vegas Frank Sinatra knew -- or even the one that I marveled at for the first time in the late 1990s. Alongside high-rollers at the baccarat tables are affluent partygoers at swanky clubs who aren't shy about forking over $10,000 for a private VIP table. This diversification of the revenue stream means more ways to separate visitors from thier dollars -- and less reliance on Lady Luck (although we know the house always wins).

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Ontario stops funding problem gambling research agency, orders closure

The Ontario government has eliminated funding to an organization that researches problem gambling, ordering it to wind down operations by the summer.

Gambling Research Exchange Ontario was told last month that its entire $2.5 million annual budget had been cut by the province.

It will have to cease operations by mid-July and 14 staff members will lose their jobs.

The agency says it provides resources to prevent problem gambling that are used by front-line service providers including the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission.

The cut comes as the Progressive Conservative government looks at ways to expand online gambling and has said it will allow free alcohol at casinos to allow operators to better compete with their American counterparts.

The government said it was making the cut so that it could focus on delivery of front-line services.

The CEO of Gambling Research Exchange Ontario said the organization is disappointed it won’t be able to continue the work its done for 20 years. The knowledge and research built up over that time could be lost, said Trudy Smit Quosai.

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In raw confessional, Craig Carton says ‘I’m a gambling addict’

As cautionary tales go, it’s a horror story. It’s a video titled, “The Reckoning” — something like “The Shining,” except it’s based on facts.

It stars — likely in his last role until many pages fall from a calendar as seen in old prison movies — Craig Carton.

Carton, 50, is scheduled to stand before Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan federal court on Friday to be sentenced for a reported $5.6 million in gambling-driven financial fraud.

Carton ran a fraudulent bulk ticket business, promising investors prime seats to big concerts, but instead spent $7 million to pay off his own gambling debts. He faces as many as 45 years in prison, though prosecutors have recommended 5-7 years.

“The Reckoning” was apparently shot and edited six weeks ago, and was to be released to the public — as per Carton’s wishes — following Friday’s sentencing. If he prefers a jailhouse confession to a preemptive one designed to curry the court’s sympathy, that’s good on him. Either way, he’s headed to prison, no one left to con.

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FTC to Hold Workshop on Video Game Loot Boxes in August

The Federal Trade Commission is holding a public workshop on Aug. 7 to examine the consumer protection issues surrounding video game loot boxes, it announced on Friday.

The workshop is called “Inside the Game: Unlocking the Consumer Issues Surrounding Loot Boxes,” and it will feature industry representatives, consumer advocates, trade associations, academics, and government officials. They will discuss a variety of topics, including the origins and evolution of loot boxes, how they’re being marketed to consumers, and the potential behavioral impact they could have on children.

Loot boxes are in-game treasure chests containing a random assortment of virtual items. Players buy them using virtual currency they earn within the game or by spending real-world money. Some fear they’re too akin to gambling, and countries like Belgium and the Netherlands have already taken legal action against video game publishers who use them, forcing companies like Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard to modify or remove them from their games entirely.

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Feds skill-games probe continues; Skilled Shamrock searched again

Around 11 a.m. Wednesday, law enforcement officials were seen walking in and out of the Skilled Shamrock at 4225 Hills and Dales Road NW.

PLAIN TWP. Federal law enforcement officials searched at least one skill-games business in Stark County on Wednesday as a criminal investigation continues.

“We’re conducting authorized court-related activities in the Canton, Ohio area,” Craig Casserly, a spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service, said on Wednesday.

Around 11 a.m. Wednesday, law enforcement officials were seen walking in and out of the Skilled Shamrock at 4225 Hills and Dales Road NW and loading boxes in unmarked vehicles. The “Open” sign continued to flash in the window.

Agencies on site included the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Ohio Casino Control Commission and the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General.

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More states are betting on sports gambling. But for most, it's a losing wager.

When the Patriots won the Super Bowl again — and covered the spread, too — all of New England was delirious, with the possible exception of Rhode Island's tax collectors.

The state's sportsbooks lost $2.35 million because, come on, really, who's going to bet against Tom Brady in New England? That, in turn, cut into Rhode Island's tax revenue.

For a variety of reasons, not just the Patriots' star quarterback, most of the states that moved quickly to legalize sports betting after the Supreme Court cleared the way are still waiting for the expected payoff.

Tax revenue has fallen far short of projections in four of the six states where gambling on sporting events started last year, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Rhode Island, the only place in New England with legal sports betting, had expected to generate more than $1 million a month for its state budget through its 51% tax on sportsbook proceeds. The actual revenue? About $50,000 a month from the late-November launch through February, which included the Super Bowl.

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‘Loot Boxes’ Could Be Trouble for the Videogame Industry. Here’s What You Need to Know.

As lights flash and virtual fireworks erupt, a blank card opens up.

“Come on, just one time,” a young gamer yells at the screen as he opens card packs on which he has just spent $250. One elite player could change the fortunes of his virtual Madden football team.

“We got nothing,” he yells in disgust. “I honestly can’t get over how much money I just wasted.”

His frustration, captured on YouTube, was over “loot boxes”—treasure chests that gamers either earn through game play or buy with digital currency by spending real money, typically a few dollars. Each loot box offers a chance at winning digital costumes or better players that help their teams perform better.

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Will betting on sports be the next public health menace?

Sports betting could soon be legal throughout the United States.

Wagers on professional and college games had been permitted solely in Nevada until last May, when a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court enabled states to decide whether to sanction it. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have either legalized or offered legislation for gambling on sports. A bipartisan federal bill has also been introduced by the U.S. Senate.

A proliferation of casinos across the country has already eaten into the savings of people who didn’t previously have access to slot machines and roulette wheels, says Richard Daynard, University Distinguished Professor of Law and President of the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern. He argues that the emergence of legal sports betting by smartphone will create even more vulnerability.

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Basic sports terminology you should know before placing a bet

Sports betting is becoming almost a global pastime. With the advent of online sports betting, more and more people are choosing to try their luck in wedging on sport events.

It is true that in the majority of the Muslim countries, sports betting – both land-based and online – is forbidden. Throughout most of the United States, likewise, sports betting is made illegal. But in Europe, people enjoy betting on sport matches so much that many of them become addicted to it. Thus, in the United Kingdom, sports betting is so popular that almost 2 million people there are classified as problem gamblers or as being at risk of addiction.

Forty-one million visitors flock to Nevada each year to try their hand at gambling and bet on their favorite sport games. The amount of money people annually invest in sport wagering is staggering. According to the latest statistics, around $70 billion is bet on sports worldwide; and these numbers are only approximate, since some of sport betting is done illegally.

In the USA, more than $3 billion is wagered on sport events, with $1.3 billion of this amount placed on American football. The statistics also show that particularly intense betting on American football becomes during Super Bowl: about $99 million gets invested in this sport in America alone.

It is also estimated that more than 200 million people wager on Super Bowl in the world, betting more than $8 billion on its winner. In the UK, sport lovers do not wait for specific events to take place but eagerly bet throughout a year. Their passion for betting makes Britons the leader among European countries engaged in sports betting. In Asia, Japan tops the list.      

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Bill Requiring Addiction Warnings on Lottery Tickets Reappears in Florida Legislature

A bill requiring lottery vendors to place a warning message about addiction risks on lottery tickets is gaining momentum in the Florida Legislature

The measure – House Bill 629 – survived on Thursday a vote in the House Commerce Committee. The bill’s approval in the committee paved its way for a full House floor review. An identical piece of legislation was introduced in the Senate, as well, but that one is yet to be reviewed by members of the Legislature’s upper house.

Authored by Rep. Will Robinson, HB 629 will require all Florida-facing lottery vendors to place the same message on the front of all lottery products distributed across the state. In addition, the piece mandates that the Lottery Department put the same message on all lottery ads and promotions.

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