Since the US Department of Justice released a memo on December 23rd that revealed an opinion that the Wire Act of 1963 only applies to sports betting, many states have begun to consider online gambling legalization. California, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maine have been in the news recently regarding their potential interest. Now you can add Ohio to that list.
According to the interim director of the Ohio Lottery Commission Dennis Berg, “We’re exploring this topic. We want to be in the forefront of being able to generate revenue for the lottery commission. But it’s a policy decision that we will not make on our own.”
The Ohio Lottery Commission has the authority to institute various type of games in the state, so if online gaming were to become legal in the state, they would likely be the supplier. Berg stated that he would consult Governor John Kasich and other lawmakers before beginning the undertaking.
If Ohio was to legalize online gambling, it could be a major boom to their economy. Ohio is estimated to be able to generate $2 Billion in revenues from online gaming. Of course, Berg did state that there are many issues that have to be considered including how it would impact the Video Lottery Terminal market in Ohio. Also, Berg does have concerns over the DOJ’s recent memo. He said that it is not a 100% green light in spite of what others may believe.
If Ohio were to move forward with online gaming, Berg stated that Intralot, an online lottery vendor, has already expressed an interest in developing games for the state. The company currently offers online games in Europe.
As long as they do not see strong opposition from Ohio lawmakers, this could prove a major positive development for proponents of intrastate gambling in the state. Since they already have the authority to offer various games, they could avoid many of the legal hurdles in place in other states. Berg did not state any type of timeline on when a decision would be made. We will provide updates on this story as information becomes available.