Ohio Pro Teams Want Sports Betting Licenses as Nebraska Lawmakers Back E-Keno

  • Eight Ohio sports teams have formed a coalition to promote their vision for sports wagering
  • They have called for their own sports betting licenses to offer both retail and mobile options
  • Nebraska lawmakers have passed an amendment which adds e-keno to gambling legislation
  • Indiana’s legislature has approved its first tribal gaming compact, struck with the Pokagon Band
Cleveland Browns player
A coalition of professional sports teams in Ohio has urged the government to include its members among sports betting licensees, while an e-keno amendment to a Nebraskan bill has received lawmakers’ approval. [Image of Cleveland Browns: Shutterstock.com]

Sports team pressure, e-keno approval, and a tribal compact

As Ohio lawmakers formulate sports betting legislation, the state’s professional sports teams have made clear they want a piece of the action. Eight major league teams and the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament have formed a coalition to lobby lawmakers into including members among potential sportsbook licensees.

a recent mobile keno inclusion has caused some disagreement among lawmakers

Meanwhile, Nebraska is slightly further along in its expansion process. A bill that would create a legal sports betting market is currently under consideration by the legislature. However, a recent mobile keno inclusion has caused some disagreement among lawmakers. After a series of votes on Tuesday, the bill will move forward with that provision still in place.

Elsewhere, Indiana legislators have approved the state’s first tribal gaming deal with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.

Ohio sports teams want in

Sports betting legislation has not made much progress in Ohio in the past, and so lawmakers have employed a cautious approach this year. In a process that ended March 31, the Senate Select Committee on Gaming listened to the views of stakeholders, including state lottery officials, gambling operators, and local businesses.

a joint statement on Tuesday urging the government to introduce sports wagering

While the state’s sports betting teams did provide their opinions during that process, they have now joined forces to promote their views further. The Ohio Professional Sports Coalition released a joint statement on Tuesday urging the government to introduce sports wagering. Among others, its members include the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Cleveland Indians.

The coalition called for all of Ohio’s sports franchises and the Memorial Tournament to receive sports betting licenses. This would see the state offer 20 altogether, with Ohio’s four casinos and seven racinos also receiving permits. The licensees would then partner with a sportsbook operator to offer a mobile app and retail betting at sporting venues.

The teams have requested a quick turnaround on any sports betting legislation, urging lawmakers to sign a bill into law by June 30. Senate Select Committee on Gaming chairman Sen. Kirk Schuring said the group will release a bill after the legislature returns from its two-week mid-April break.

Nebraska embraces electronic keno

In Nebraska, gambling expansion plans have made significant progress so far this year. Two combined bills, LB 560 and LB 561, have paved the way for casinos at the state’s racetracks. If passed, the legislation will add traditional table games, slot machines, and sports wagering to Nebraska’s gambling offerings.

In light of this expansion, officials from Nebraska’s major cities raised concern regarding a potential loss of keno revenue last month. To counter this, they urged legislators to introduce a mobile keno option for bars and keno parlors. The request was later met by lawmakers with the addition of an extra provision in the expansion bill.

the bill will move forward with the e-keno provision included

Nebraska legislators voted on that amendment this Tuesday. Despite some opposition, the bill will move forward with the e-keno provision included. Lawmakers also voted for the removal of an in-state college betting prohibition, meaning the amended bill will permit bettors to wager on home games for Nebraskan teams.

Indiana Pokagon compact okayed

In January this year, Governor Eric Holcomb and Matthew Wesaw, chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, announced they had reached an agreement over Indiana’s first tribal gaming compact.

A press statement following the agreement reached in January, read: “This compact was executed in accordance with state law and federal law and obligations and recognizes the sovereign rights of both the State of Indiana and the Pokagon Band.”

The state legislature approved the deal on Monday, allowing the tribe’s South Bend Four Winds Casino to expand its offering. With the facility now registered as a class III gaming operation, the Pokagon can advance its Four Winds Casino beyond just electronic bingo-style gambling. The tribal compact permits the addition of slot gaming, blackjack, roulette, and sports betting.

The compact will run for 20 years, with the option to extend every ten years after that point. Under the terms of the agreement, the Pokagon tribe will pay a 10% tax on slot revenue to the state. Indiana’s commercial casinos currently pay a 25% tax on gross gaming revenue.

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