Ohio Senator Coley: US needs 'enforcement or legalisation' to prevent illegal sports betting
US states must prepare for sports betting either by legalising it or increasing enforcement resources, Ohio Senator William Coley has told Gambling Insider.
Illegal wagers already take place in the US through offshore websites and rogue operators, and as Delaware, New Jersey and other states legalise sports betting the problem will only get worse.
“I don’t want us to sit on our hands in Ohio while other states are beginning to legalise sports wagering, including allowing for mobile wagers, which threaten to increase the amount of illegal wagers being placed by people in Ohio. Members of the public can simply text their friends in states where sports betting is legalised and ask them to place wagers for them,” Senator Coley, Chair of the Senate’s Government Oversight and Reform Committee, told Gambling Insider.
“We know people are already placing sports wagers. So the point is whether or not we would rather see those wagers being placed through a regulated operator, such as a land-based casino in Cleveland. If this is the case, then the state can start to benefit from the wagers though the taxes which would be implemented on them. We would be taking away funds that are currently going to illegal operators and giving them to legal ones.”
Senator Coley said the alternative to legalising sports betting is to give police more power to crackdown on illegal gambling.
“We can see that we need to tackle illegal sports betting either through enforcement or the legalising of the market,” he said.
“The average cop on the street is too busy dealing with other issues to be able to currently enforce prosecutions against illegal sports betting wagers. They need to be given the tools to be able to start going after these guys.”
Ohio's problems are replicated across the US, as the proliferation of legalised sports betting markets will make it easier to place illegal wagers.