Ohio expected to feel pressure to create sports betting laws

Jul 7, 2018 9:02 AM

JACK Entertainment, with prominent casino operations in Ohio, has issued a written statement to Gaming Today regarding the possibility of Nevada-style sports betting in the Buckeye State.

Matt Cullen, chief executive officer, JACK Entertainment, in an e-mail said, “Under the proper regulatory framework, we support the State of Ohio moving forward with sports betting at brick and mortar facilities.”

He continued, “However, the detailed state regulations that will be written in response to the Supreme Court’s decision will determine the safety and viability of this potential amenity. Certainly there is significant guest interest in sports betting being available at our facilities.”

In Ohio, JACK operates casinos in Downtown Cleveland, at Thistledown, a racetrack in a suburb east of the city, as well as Cincinnati. Other JACK operations are the Horseshoe Baltimore and JACK Detroit Casino-Hotel Greektown and Turfway Park in Northern Kentucky, where historical racing terminals are expected to be available when a facility remodel is complete.

Cleveland Cavalier majority owner Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans Inc., is also the Founder and Chairman of Rock Ventures LLC, the umbrella entity for his portfolio of business and real estate investments. Rock Ventures and its more than 100 affiliated companies across the country employ more than 30,000 persons, the company says.

As an NBA owner, league interests on national issues are addressed by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who was one of the early endorsers of sports betting nationally, but has also been an advocate of a the controversial “integrity fee” concept in which the league would receive a percentage of the total handle wagered on its games.

Nevada and the new sports betting operations in New Jersey and Delaware have resisted, to this point, efforts from the major sports leagues to collect a fee for betting on what Silver calls their “intellectual property.”

Ohio law currently has no provisions for sports betting, but pressure to create laws to enable it are expected to mount as nearby states, such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia move forward plans for the new enterprise.