Could Ohio become the latest state to permit its citizens to join in with the growing number of people enjoying esports betting in the USA?
That prospect seemed to move a little closer this week as the Esports Entertainment Group (EEG) sent two of its most prominent and senior personnel to give testimony to senators, backing the bill and calling for legislators to allow betting on many different bets available within the esports industry.
The Chief Financial Officer of EEG, Dan Marks, along with Vice President of Strategy, Jeff Cohen, were the two employees entrusted with presenting their case to senators, backing the sub bill (SB 176) that was introduced last month by Ohio State Senator Kirk Schuring (R).
Two License System
The sub bill would effectively create a two tiered licensing system in Ohio. The first would be for existing sportsbooks and casinos to be able to take bets in the state (including esports bets). The other license would be aimed more at real-world sports betting shops and premises.
Part of the appeal for EEG is the fact that it has already recently agreed a deal with a top sports team in the state, the NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers, and that it has plans to build a number of Helix Centers across the state, as well as releasing its Vie.bet esports betting platform in the state, should the bill be passed by senate.
“Robust Gaming Model in the State”
After confirming his company’s plans to build several Helix Centers and to offer its Vie.bet esports betting platform in the state, CEO of EEG, Grant Johnson, also confirmed that his company wanted to expand its level of partnerships in Ohio in particular.
He also commented:
“We look forward to working with the Ohio legislature and our strategic partners to create a robust gaming ecosystem in the state. We believe Ohio can form a model for innovation and investment in esports that other states will follow.”
Why is Ohio important?
If you are a company that is looking towards expanding into the United States market, especially in terms of betting or gaming, then what happens in Ohio could well be seen as a barometer for how likely other states may open up to sports and esports betting in the future.
Given the fragmented nature of betting and gambling in the United States, where in some states many different forms of gambling are allowed, but in others only a selected few are allowed and in many, almost no form of gambling (bar state lotteries) is allowed at all, what happens in Ohio will prove to be a useful indicator for companies and their strategies moving forward.
As has been the case in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, state legislators realise that allowing online gambling and esports betting and similar will generate millions of dollars in tax which can then be reinvested in the state infrastructure in a number of different ways.
Currently, many states miss out on this as their citizens will access sites available in other states and register for them as they are not allowed to do so in their home state. This, while technically illegal, is almost impossible for authorities to police.
The backing for the bill from the two EEG representatives could be a decisive factor in bringing esports betting to Ohio.