While his northern peers may want to mull over the possibility of sports betting further, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has his priorities clear. He wants the state legislature to introduce a sports betting bill that he intends to pass before elections in 2020.
Why does Gov. DeWine want legislation?
According to the governor, there is a significant demand for legalized sports betting in the state, which could be fulfilled by tabling a robust bill for the same. He suggests that he would prefer a bill that is designed to suit of Ohio and its people. He also said that he would prefer to see the bill pass through the legislature before ultimately reaching his table.
His viewpoints on the legislature are in striking contrast with that of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer who could veto the sports betting bill passed by the House. DeWine thinks a legislative process is the best way to create strong regulation for the sports betting industry in the state.
Governor DeWine’s press secretary Dan Tierney said,
“He does believe that sports betting is coming, and it’s important to do this through the legislative process.”
He added that the governor thinks that the citizens should be able to vote on the issue. He doesn’t believe that it is a difficult process to put it on the ballot.
What is the motivation behind legislative preference?
Governor DeWine wants to ensure that the General Assembly takes action on athletic wagering before someone tries to put the issue on the ballot. If this happens, then special interest groups could try to take control of the process. He thinks that the power to create a strong wagering regulation should be done by the elected representatives of the state.
Tierney noted further that third parties that have vested interests in the sports betting sector could try to put the issue on the ballot. They may use flowery language or a language well suited to their needs on the ballot. Eventually, it may benefit their ulterior motives. The legislature is the only place where a neutral and unbiased public policy related to gambling could be created. Therefore, the governor wants the state representatives to work on a bill and get it through the legislative process quickly.
The state has two sports betting bills to consider. The House bill wants the Ohio Lottery Commission to regulate sports betting while the Senate bill wants the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) to fulfill this role. The governor said that he would prefer OCCC for the role.