Ohio official criticizes Kentucky’s sport betting law

CINCINNATI — Ohio’s prime playing regulator says Kentucky made “a elementary mistake” by legalizing sports activities betting for individuals aged 18 and older.

However at the very least one firm eligible for a sports-betting licenses in Kentucky says it would refuse bets from individuals beneath 21.

“I completely hate the concept people beneath 21 can go throughout the border, open an account and wager,” mentioned Matt Schuler, government director of the Ohio On line casino Management Fee. “I believe it’s horrible.”

Kentucky legalized sports activities betting on March 31, when Governor Andy Beshear signed Home Invoice 552 into legislation. No launch date has been set for the business as a result of guidelines are nonetheless being developed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Fee. Of the 37 states that legalized sports activities betting up to now, Kentucky is amongst 5 that enables 18-year-olds to wager, in line with the American Gaming Affiliation.

“It’s in line with all of our different gaming legal guidelines in Kentucky,” mentioned Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Brownsville, sponsor of the sports activities betting invoice. “You may wager at a horse observe in Kentucky once you’re 18. You may go to an HHR facility at 18 by statute. Now, a number of of our HHR amenities have self-regulated to 21 however the statute says 18. After which, you should buy lottery tickets in Kentucky at 18 too. So, it’s in line with all of our different wagering legal guidelines.”

Ohio additionally permits 18-year-olds to wager on lottery video games and horse races. However casinos and sports activities books are prohibited from taking bets from — and advertising and marketing to — anybody beneath the age of 21.

“The age group that’s most susceptible to creating a playing drawback are males 18 to 35,” Schuler mentioned. “The youthful ones are most susceptible as they’re not on the age but the place they will totally course of the implications of their actions. Not my opinion. Scientific reality.”

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From Zoom interview on June 2, 2023.

Schuler mentioned Ohio ought to take into account banning all types of betting by individuals beneath 21. However he argues the issue is most acute for sports activities betting.

“The audience for sports activities gaming are males, theoretically 21 to 35 however I suppose in Kentucky, 18 to 35. So, you have got this convergence of the audience being probably the most in danger,” he mentioned.

Northern Kentucky College senior Josiah Pokopac agrees “18 is a little bit younger” for some bettors who lack information and maturity.

“You may get hooked on something although,” Pokopac mentioned. “I simply suppose you must be disciplined. And that’s a part of being worthwhile in sports activities playing, you must be disciplined.”

Pokopac, 22, is a sports-business main who performed for NKU’s soccer crew for 3 years. He positioned his first sports activities wager at 18. He now has greater than 20 betting apps on his cellphone, together with Betstamp, a bet-tracking app provided by a Toronto firm that pays him to be a model ambassador.

“Their job is to take all of the bookies’ numbers from one sport and simply unfold it out so you may odds store,” Pokopac mentioned. “Actually, I’ve a wager in on daily basis. It actually depends upon how I really feel in regards to the video games, how a lot cash I’m going to placed on it.”

Pokopac mentioned his sports activities betting actions have been largely worthwhile and he’s by no means misplaced greater than $250 on a single wager. However he can see how others may develop a playing drawback from the fixed circulation of presents that come from sports-betting apps.

His professor can see it too.

“I don’t suppose it’s the very best social coverage” to permit bets at 18, mentioned Joe Cobbs, who chairs the sports activities enterprise and occasion administration division at NKU’s Haile Faculty of Enterprise.

Cobbs expects larger sports activities books to keep away from youthful bettors in Kentucky as a result of most states, together with Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee, prohibit under-21 bets. However he’s positive “there’ll be a number of the medium-sized ones or ones which might be attempting to interrupt into the market that may” take bets from 18-20 12 months outdated clients.

“If it’s authorized they’ll discover a approach to take the bets,” he mentioned.

The WCPO 9 I-Group contacted greater than a dozen corporations eligible for sports-betting licenses in Kentucky to see they may provide bets to individuals beneath 21. Solely two responded.

“In response to your query relating to the age allowed for sports activities betting at Keeneland and Pink Mile, our licensed operator, Caesars Worldwide, has decided that 21 is the age allowed at our brick-and-mortar facility,” mentioned Jim Goodman, director of wagering improvement at Keeneland Affiliation Inc.

BetMGM mentioned it “has a strict 21+ betting coverage in all states during which we at the moment function,” however didn’t say whether or not that would be the coverage in Kentucky.

Churchill Downs Inc. didn’t reply. However its HHR amenities, together with Turfway Park and Newport Racing and Gaming, prohibit patrons from coming into until they’re 21 or older.

“I do hope that the licensed sports activities books select to supply it to solely these 21 and older as a matter of duty,” Schuler mentioned. “They’re going to have an issue on their palms in the event that they don’t do one thing on the entrance finish for accountable playing prevention and be ready for remedy.”

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