Betting on the Buckeyes Will Be Allowed in Ohio

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
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A common thread among most of the northern US states is the prohibition of betting on in-state universities and games that feature them.  Noteworthy is that Michigan does not have such a restriction.  And now comes word that Ohio will allow bets on their beloved Buckeyes.


This should not come as much of a surprise.  Outside of the Southeast, Michigan and Ohio have some of the most diehard College Football fans in the nation.

The head of the state agency tapped to regulate the new industry in Ohio confirmed Wednesday that betting will be permitted on in-state schools.  A bill legalizing sports wagering passed this week and was sitting on Governor Mike DeWine's desk.  He intends to sign the bill into law. 

The General Assembly did not exempt collegiate athletics from sports wagering, and neither will the Ohio Casino Control Commission, said executive director Matt Schuler.

“That’s the big question: Will people be able to bet on the Ohio State Buckeyes?” Schuler said. “Yes, they will.”

Betting-eligible sports include Ohio’s professional sports teams, motor sports, Olympic events, professional golf and tennis, and major college sports such as football and basketball, but the final determinations will be established by the Casino Control Commission.

Ohio universities have long raised concerns about the impact of sports betting on college sports.

“If wagering on collegiate sports is permitted, it would not take a great leap of logic to conclude the risk of student athletes soliciting and accepting payments to influence the outcome of games may increase,” Bruce Johnson, the head of the Inter-University Council of Ohio, testified before the Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming in March.

Schuler did offer this caveat.

“If the commission is presented with a scenario where its intervention is needed for the purpose of integrity and managing risk, then the commission will absolutely consider that and take whatever measures are necessary to do so,” Schuler said.

Ohio is among the last states in the region to legalize sports betting.  Its neighbor to the west, Indiana, also permits wagering on in-state schools.  Further west, Illinois, does not.

Pennsylvania to the east also allows gambling on in-state schools.  To date, however, all other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, prohibit bets on in-state schools and games they play in.

- Gilbert Horowitz,

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