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Proposed sports betting bill could leave Ohio casinos without sports books

Jack Casino in Cleveland could be without a sports book, even if sports betting is legalized in...
Jack Casino in Cleveland could be without a sports book, even if sports betting is legalized in the state.(Michael Dakota)
Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 10:48 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Legislation enacted by the Ohio Senate to legalize sports betting in the state could leave casinos in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus out in the cold.

Senate Bill 176, which passed Wednesday, limits the number of brick-and-mortar sports books based on county population and gives professional sports teams priority in obtaining licenses.

For example, the bill allows for three sports books in Cuyahoga County, where there are three professional sports teams, a casino and a racino.

That means the Browns, Cavaliers and Indians could obtain the licenses, leaving Jack Casino and Jack Thistledown Racino without one.

The bill gives preference to professional sports organizations when deciding which applicants to awards licenses to.

A spokesperson for a coalition representing professional sports teams said he could not comment on what their individual plans are for pursing gaming licenses.

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