Youth are the focus of the sports betting revenue in Ohio
In December last year, Ohio lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the House Bill-29 which allows for Ohio sports betting on collegiate and professional games. And it was officially made part of the legislation on December 22, 2021, after Governor Mike DeWine signed it.
Apparently, sports betting is already underway in six surrounding states, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois. Whereas Ohio, a state housing 11.68 million residents, is only just entering the club. But this was a much-needed change.
Previously, Ohio residents would have to cross state lines and go to Michigan and Indiana to place bets. It was because of the regulatory fence in place which only allows bets originating from within the state. Therefore, Ohio was losing money in terms of tax revenue.
“We’re taking an activity that was done in the shadows and now states can regulate it, tax it and provide protection,” said Jeff Hoose, regional manager at FanDuel Sportsbook. This is a widely shared view among Ohio residents which is proved by the overwhelming response to the House Bill-29.
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Ohio launch updates that affect the youth
The deadline imposed by lawmakers for operational launch is January 1, 2023. In order to stay on track, the commission is meeting twice a month. As a result, by the end of the year, sports betting should be available.
“I absolutely believe they will meet the legal deadline of January 1, 2023, and I am optimistic that it could come before that,” State Senator Niraj Antani said. He is one of the people who pushed for legalized sports gambling in Ohio.
Ohio betting profits updates?
The state estimates that sports betting will be a $1.1 billion industry in Ohio in its first year or so of operation, growing to $3.35 billion within a few years. The Ohio Legislative Service Commission estimates sports betting will generate $24 million in tax revenue in the 12 months ending June 30, 2024, the first full year of operation.
But experts say the tax tally could reach up to $90 million per year once Ohio’s sports-betting market fully develops in 3 to 5 years. The sole benefactor of this revenue will be the youth.
After New York, Ohio will be the next state to utilize sports betting as a source for funds for the youth. Ohio houses several professional and semi-professional sports teams. Sports are beneficial to a person’s physical and mental well-being. And education is one of the most fundamental elements that shape the generation. It also helps create a skilled workforce that can contribute to the country’s economy in a better way.
Where will Ohio sports betting profits go?
The law states that 98% of the revenue gathered will flow to the private and public schools. The state will spend half of the revenue on the education of K-12. While the rest is on college sports and other extracurricular activities. The ideas which were previously dropped due to lack of funds will not see a red tape anymore. More money spent on education also translates to higher salaries for teachers which helps retain top talent.
The expected $24 million tax revenue will significantly improve the sports and education landscape in Ohio and provide a healthier venue for the youth. According to Stephen Dyer, who is the CEO of Education Policy Solutions, this is the first time Ohio lawmakers have specified a specific funding source for extracurricular activities.
Apparently, this also means that this is a substantial amount of money you do not have to come up with from anywhere else. And no existing projects will be negatively affected by it. This dedicated fund will also ensure the continuity of sports. The legal expansion of gambling in Ohio will also bring about a lot of jobs for youth. In addition, opportunities for various businesses looking to expand will also be available.
There is another aspect to this too. Some groups had been actively encouraging lawmakers and the general public about the risk of an increase in problems with gambling. Moreover, some experts believe that because of increased availability more people will be seeking it out which would inevitably give rise to an increased number of gambling addicts. If a person had to previously travel to another state to gamble, they would now have access to it at home, college or work.
According to a poll conducted by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in 2017, up to 900,000 Ohioans may have a gambling issue. 5,523 Ohioans called the problem gambling hotline in 2018. According to the Supreme Court of Ohio, 76,379 individuals fall into the category of a gambling problem. And this figure is from before the law to legalize sports betting was passed.
The passage of this legalization law in December of last year will provide easy access to online gambling which is a cause for concern. Particularly, this trend corroborates with other states where the number of gambling addicts saw an increase after legalization. So, it is a definite possibility, and we should perceive it as such.
What measures can the state take to prevent the negative health impacts of sports betting?
With the 98% of tax revenue going to sports, the remaining 2% would go to problem gambling services, and recover administrative costs by the Ohio Tax Commissioner, by law.
There are some measures already in place like the PGNO (Problem Gambling Network of Ohio). Its goal is to promote awareness about responsible gambling while also advocating for adequate safeguards in problem gambling laws.
The state formed “Ohio for Responsible Gambling” helps communities reduce problem gambling. A huge effort on raising awareness and helping means that adequate resources are available for the task.
As a football fan and sports writer, Mike has many years of experience. Since the US started moving towards legal sports betting, Mike has found new love with sports gambling.