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Politics

Ohio NAACP President Says Sports Gambling Will Hurt Minorities

Football fans watch the action on wall-mounted video screens in the sports betting lounge at the Ocean Resort Casino, Sept. 9, 2018, in Atlantic City, N.J.
Wayne Perry
/
AP
Football fans watch the action on wall-mounted video screens in the sports betting lounge at the Ocean Resort Casino, Sept. 9, 2018, in Atlantic City, N.J.

As Ohio lawmakers consider legalizing sports betting, gambling opponents are sounding the alarm that allowing it would hurt minorities.

Ohio NAACP leader and former state senator Tom Roberts opposes the gambling legislation now under consideration. He said legal sports gambling in other states advertises disproportionately to low-income people.

“You know people of color are preyed upon in these markets and this will continue if gambling is allowed,” Roberts said.

The business interests that Robert said will benefit from minorities as their customers won’t help then it comes to protecting their voting rights. He added public schools, which many minority children rely on, would be hurt if sports betting is legalized.

Ohio lawmakers are expected to take up sports gambling when they return to work next month.

Earlier this year, the Senate spent several months working on a bill, SB176, that would allow for sports betting along with other forms of gaming, including e-bingo at fraternal halls and charitable organizations and are exploring the possibility of an online platform for lottery games.

A coalition of Ohio's professional sports teams has been pushing to legalize sports betting with most surrounding states already doing so, with the exception of Kentucky.