The Cleveland Browns wrapped up their season series with the Pittsburgh Steelers but if their game last month at Heinz Field was at the end of the season Browns fans would likely have been able to legally place a bet on the game at the adjacent Rivers Casino then headed into the game. Rivers was approved last month for sports betting and is in the process of building a temporary sports book with an eye reportedly towards a December opening.
Pennsylvania was one of the states that made preemptive moves ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling clearing the way for sports betting in states across the country. New Jersey, which brought the lawsuit that challenged the 1992 law that banned sports betting outside of a select few states, was the first to go online this summer, West Virginia one of the state's that soon followed.
With sports betting on Ohio's doorstep the Ohio legislature has taken the first steps in the form of a placeholder bill but has yet to move any further.
"It's coming to Ohio whether people want it or not," Governor-elect Mike DeWine told News 5 last month. "We need to be there to do it right, the right way."
"I'm not a big fan of betting but it is a reality and Ohio voters have made that decision with the casinos and other things throughout the years and so it's here, I think it's important for Ohio to do it right and so I will work with the state legislature when I'm governor to make sure this is done right, make sure that we can control it, make sure that we can regulate it."
DeWine moves to the governor's chair from the position of attorney general and is well aware of the American Gaming Association's long claim that more than $150 billion is wagered each year illegally in the U.S.
"Look people want to gamble you know a tremendous amount of gambling goes on under the table in regard to sports. We need now that the United States Supreme Court has made their ruling we're going to have every state is going to be jumping into this, people are going to be able to do it on their app," he said.
Betting through mobile app is something New Jersey currently offers and Pennsylvania plans to offer soon. It essentially enables customers, even those from outside of the state to download the gaming app, register and then once they drive into the state that has sports betting log in and make a wager.
The Associated Press reported this week in a story on those New Yorkers who are driving, biking or taking a train to New Jersey to make online wagers that FanDuel says 9 percent of its sports book customers live in New York and 4 percent live in Pennsylvania. DraftKings has a similar breakdown, and says about 10 percent of its active customers visit New Jersey from other states to place bets.
While some legislative leaders are still opposed to sports betting the reality is, much like Ohioans went to Pennsylvania casinos to gamble ahead of the casino referendum passing here n 2009, the draw of sports betting will lure them once again.
"We just need to make sure that it's done so we control as much as we can," DeWine said. "Problem gambling, people who have a real problem, we need to be part of helping them but at the same time this gambling is coming to Ohio, it's coming one way or the other."