Bowling Alleys are making their pitch to offer sports betting in Ohio.

  • More businesses are coming forward and speaking to the Ohio Legislature about being included in a future sports betting industry.
  • Professional sports teams and bowling alleys statewide have now joined the list of businesses wanting to offer sports wagering at their facilities.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming was created to do exactly what they’ve been doing since the year began; listen to testimony from every end of the spectrum for sports betting legislation which now includes bowling alleys and professional sports organizations.

On Wednesday, the committee continued their hearings on the topic of sports wagering legalization and listened as more entities spoke of wanting to throw their hat in the ring for any future bill proposals involving the market.

Who Wants In Now?

It’s a safe bet to say that more businesses than not want a chance to operate sportsbooks in Ohio if the industry were to become legal. From huge corporations to the mom-and-pop shops of the state, all see the benefits of what sports betting could do if they were able to open such an operation within their businesses.

A few weeks ago, grocery stores in Ohio asked to be included in any potential sports wagering legislation and now bowling alleys are asking the same thing.

The concept behind these requests is simple; to have a better chance at recovering from the damage caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. It would be in the best interest of these businesses to have the ability to attract customers by being able to offer legal sports betting.

The idea is to have sports gaming kiosks at their locations and once people are in the door to bet on sporting events, they’ll stick around and make other purchases.

“Ohio small businesses need the legislature to allow for sports betting through lottery kiosks in bowling centers,” said David Corey, the executive vice president of the Bowling Centers Association of Ohio. “It would be another fatal blow if the general assembly doesn’t allow these forms of gaming to help us attract and retain customers. All we want to do is compete at a somewhat level playing field. Our goal is to keep patrons in their seats so they buy that extra pop, beer, or sandwich and maybe even bowl a couple of more games.”

Professional sports teams also had their time at the podium during the hearing. Doug Healy, the CFO of the Cincinnati Reds was in attendance to speak for all of the professional sports organizations statewide as they are all in agreeance to wanting a legal sports betting industry. It is the request of these franchises that they are given both a retail and mobile sportsbook license if the market is legalized in Ohio.

Their reasoning is, without their existence, there would be nothing to bet on therefore their requests should be granted. Healy also suggested that official league data be part of any future law to ensure that the integrity of the game remained intact as teams would be operating their own sportsbooks.

“As an industry that drives billions of dollars in economic impact and employs tens of thousands of Ohioans, the professional teams are firmly aligned in supporting legislation to allow these entities to partner with a regulated sports betting operator for market access in the state of Ohio,” said Healy. “Legalized sports betting imposes risks on our sport that we are willing to accept so long as we have access to the benefit of new revenue from that market.”

Now What?

The Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming will continue to hear further testimonies in an effort to come up with the most beneficial and effective piece of legislation for a legal sports betting market in Ohio.

The Ohio Legislature has until December 31 to pass a bill on the subject that would make gambling on sporting events in the Buckeye State a legalized, state-sanctioned market. The people will continue to voice what they’d like to see from the industry until a proposal is drawn up compiling all of these viewpoints into one perfect bill that’s goal is to appease the state and everyone in it.

“Our message is that a safe and successful sports betting market in Ohio must function like a three-legged stool where each leg is recognized for its role and shares in both the risks and benefits of a regulated and legal sports betting market,” said Healy. “Those three legs are the casinos with their sportsbooks, the state of Ohio, and the sports franchises which put on the games that are the subject of betting.”

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