Sports gambling isn't legal in Ohio yet.
When will it be? At this point, it's too early to tell.
On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in the New Jersey sports gambling case declaring the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is unconstitutional by way of a 7-2 vote. With what was a federal ban now struck down, it will now be up to each state to individually decide whether or not to allow sports gambling.
While many expect sports gambling to be approved in New Jersey in time for the NBA Finals and some states already have legislation introduced, Ohio appears to be relatively behind in the process. Although five states -- including neighboring Pennsylvania and West Virginia -- have already passed sports betting bills and several others have introduced them, Ohio has yet to do either, according to ESPN.
Given the upcoming summer recesses for the Ohio House and Senate -- in a midterm election year, no less -- it may not be until 2019 that any sort of sports gambling legislation in the Buckeye State is even introduced.
And if and when it is, it's currently tough to tell whether or not it will be approved.
In January, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, which tracks gambling legislation nationwide, projected Ohio as one of 11 states with a good chance of allowing sports betting. That same month, Ohio was one of 20 states to file an amicus brief supporting New Jersey's position on the matter.
Potentially complicating Ohio's path to sports gambling, however: Current governor John Kasich and 2018 candidate Mike DeWine -- both Republicans -- have publicly opposed sports gambling, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Democratic candidate Richard Cordray, meanwhile, has stated he would consider adopting sports gambling in Ohio, should he be elected this November.
Currently, the Republicans claim to the majority of both the state's House and Senate, which wouldn't seem to bode well for the odds of sports gambling passing in Ohio.
“The Supreme Court ruling isn’t the only thing to consider here. The Ohio Constitution generally prohibits gambling, outside of the lottery, charitable bingo, and the four voter-approved casinos. Our members are always open to a thorough debate, but it’s not clear the state Constitution would allow an expansion,” Senate GOP spokesman John Fortney said per The Dispatch.
But between the upcoming elections and the potential pressure of having nearby states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia seemingly on the cusp of allowing sports gambling, it's simply too early to say how Ohio's process will ultimately play out. And that's before even getting into whether or not a public vote will be required to enact a law or what such legislation would look like.
As far as the JACK Casinos are concerned, they're in favor. The CEO of Jack Entertainment, Matt Cullen, says under the proper regulations, they’d support sports betting in Ohio Cullen adds, “However, the detailed state regulations that will be written in response to the Supreme Court’s decision will determine the safety and viability of this potential amenity. Certainly there is significant guest interest in sports betting being available at our facilities.”
All that's to say that the only safe bet to make when it comes to the conversation about legalizing sports gambling in Ohio is that it's only just beginning.