Ohio Grocers Association Want in on Sports Betting Action

Yesterday, the Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming met to discuss legalizing sports betting. This meeting was the third time the group had come together to consider options for sportsbook operations in the state. This time around, the committee heard from the Ohio Grocers Association and how they want in on the betting action.

Let Grocers Sell Odds

The Ohio Grocers Association was represented during the meeting by Joe Ewig. He spoke to lawmakers on the committee, stating that the members of the association has proven they can conduct gambling services by offering lottery tickets.

The group has over 500 businesses as its members and when it comes to the lottery, over 600 stores sold over 300 million tickets in 2020. The grocery stores are handling a large volume of ticket sales and want to be able to offer sports betting services too.

During the hearing, Ewig said that the association recognizes that there are different concepts and proposals regarding how sports betting would take place in Ohio. They are not hoping to add a sportsbook in every grocery store and offer tables on the isles. They want to be able to just be a part of the equation.

Basically, the association wants to be allowed to offer some type of product connected to sports betting. This could be a product added to the existing lottery terminals of the grocery stores and convenience stores. Ewig says the model would work because a large variety of customers visit the grocery stores and they are safe locations.

The association understands that the mobile aspect will consume most of the market. However, they are asking for inclusion so that other businesses in the state can provide sports betting as an expansion of the lottery.

Lottery and Sports Betting Go Hand in Hand

In many states within the US, the lottery operates sports betting services, or they are connected in some way. This is not a new concept. In D.C., officials within the lottery have plans to offer sports betting via terminals. In New Hampshire, lottery retailers are allowed to provide sports betting services.

In Delaware as well, the state allows lottery retailers to offer services. The option here is a parlay card for professional and college football games.

In Ohio, Senator Niraj Antani asked if retailers should be restricted on the amount of bets they could accept. The senator said they wouldn’t want someone coming in with $5 million in cash to feed the betting terminal. Of course, a high roller wouldn’t go to a grocery store to place such a bet, but the senator has a point.

If grocery stores are allowed to add sports betting to their existing terminals, how much should players be allowed to wager? Ewig said that the grocers could discuss options and come up with an idea on what would make the most sense.

It certainly is a unique concept but does fall in line with lottery retailers offering similar services in other states. It will be interesting to see if the lawmakers get on board with the idea and add a stipulation to legislation on the topic.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.