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Anti-Gambling Activist Thinks Casino Law Will Allow Sports Betting

A man watches a baseball game in a casino.
John Locher
Associated Press

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a federal ban on sports betting means Pennsylvania can go forward with sports wagering through a law passed last year, in anticipation of the court’s decision.

There’s one anti-gambling activist who says he thinks Ohio will be open for sports gambling in a matter of weeks – or maybe days, because of Pennsylvania's decision.

Rob Walgate, of the anti-casino group the American Policy Roundtable, thinks the 2009 constitutional amendment that legalized casinos also allows Ohio to immediately permit any type of gaming that a neighboring state is offering.

He says the term “slot machine” in the amendment is defined vaguely as a “mechanical, electrical or other device” that allows money to be used to play a game of skill or chance.

“They could set it up for sports wagering on a computer that would be allowed for it,” Walgate says.

Walgate is a longtime critic of the amendment. He says lawmakers could still set regulations, but in his view they couldn’t stop the casinos from starting to take bets on sporting events. However, there appears to be no case law that addresses this.