When Will Betting Be Legal in Ohio?

In the United States, sports betting is currently legal in a handful of states, with West Virginia being the most recent to pass legislation allowing for sports wagering. If you’re looking to enter the market with a bookie or online sports casino, however, you’re going to need to search high and low to find a friendly local option. In many cases, it’s not even possible to find a sports book that is willing to take your money, largely because the state governments believe that having a sports book is unlawful under current anti-gambling laws. That’s a problem because it leaves the doors open for shady practices and leaves legitimate bookmakers exposed to the whims of big sports teams and individual athletes. Hopefully, in the near future, the tide will turn and Ohio will be one of the states where you can place a sports bet or two.

What Do The Experts Say?

It’s important to remember that not all experts agree that sports betting should be legalized. In fact, many prominent individuals and organizations, including the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the American Advertising Federation, and the American Medical Association, have penned open letters to Congress asking them to oppose federal legislation that would legalize sports betting. On the other side of the coin, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, the Professional Footballers’ Association, and the United States Marine Corps all support allowing fans to engage in wagering on sports games. The key takeaway from this is that while there may be bipartisan support in Congress for legislation enabling legal sports betting, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the states should rush to approve such laws. It will be up to the population to demand it and, perhaps, change the face of the sports betting industry forever.

Why Is Sports Betting Illegal?

Most states that have passed legislation authorizing sports wagering have done so only after initially outlawing the activity. West Virginia was the first state to legalize sports wagering in the modern era, doing so in 1931. Prior to that, the activity had largely been confined to Native Americans living on reservations and to professional gamblers. Many states, including Ohio, have placed restrictions on legal sports betting to prevent children from playing games of chance and to limit participation to adults. In some cases, the laws have even sought to forbid participation by employees of the state itself, seeking to ensure that the money they bet on sports doesn’t ultimately benefit the enterprise.

These are among the reasons why betting on sports is currently illegal in most places, but it’s not the only one. The other side of the coin is that most people who do participate in sports wagering do so illegally, which means that the leagues and teams that they like to wager on don’t get the same share of the pie that they would if everyone was behaving themselves. The NFL, in particular, has been at the center of controversy over the legality of sports betting, with many believing that the organization has sought to prevent fans from backing the teams that they play, lest those fans support competing books. That’s an argument that can be made about many professional sports leagues, but the point is that if everyone is breaking the law, there’s no clear division of wealth, and that, in turn, creates an uneven playing field. One that favors the already rich.

What’s The Outlook For 2021?

It’s not easy to say at this point exactly what the outlook for 2021 is for legal sports betting, as there are a number of variables at play. On the positive side, there is continued support in Congress for enabling legislation and, if history is any guide, it’s probably going to be approved. On the negative side, there are still several prominent organizations that oppose legalizing sports betting. If history is any guide again, however, those organizations are probably going to begin to lose their power as citizens gradually come to accept and recognize the legitimacy of sports betting. That’s not to say that it won’t be opposed by certain segments of the population, particularly those who have been harmed by gambling. Just that it’s going to be harder for them to hold court in the near future.

Final Takeaway

It’s a good thing that sports betting is gaining popularity, as it’s provided us with some interesting data points regarding the future of gambling in general. According to surveys, 42% of American adults claim to have placed a wager on a sporting event within the past year. That’s compared to 28% of adults who reported having wagered on a non-sports event and 16% of adults who reported having gambled on an event that wasn’t organized by a sports league or club. While it’s great that more and more people are participating in sports betting, it would be wise for those who do so to remember the risks that come with gambling, particularly in an unregulated environment where there’s no oversight mechanism or safeguard in place to ensure that they’re getting fair and honest odds.