Ever since the United States Department of Justice reversed their attitude on the legality of online “pay for play” gaming at the state level, legislators looking for a much needed revenue stream have been pushing to get legal online gaming passed in their state. Obviously, those states which offer some type of legalized online gaming to their constituents first are going to benefit from an influx of highly skilled jobs as well as the money which can be made from selling online gaming licenses. Nevada was the first state to pass legalize online poker legislation just last month, and New Jersey, Illinois and California have been pushing hard to become the next state to benefit from legalized online gaming.
Just yesterday, on May 24th, legislators in Ohio finally came to agreement on much-needed gambling reforms which had to take place before some type of online gaming was legally available in that state. Ohio lawmakers said their first concerns were first for the safety of their citizens, and they also stressed the need not to rush headlong into a venture until every dollar was accounted for and all regulatory and licensing structures were in place.
Ohio Representative Lou Blessing called the important changes and legislative upgrades as forming “a whole regulatory scheme that makes sure the public is protected,” while also ensuring that the “state gets its money.” With the potential of hundreds of millions of dollars gambled annually in each state, licensing fees alone sold to companies anxious to get a piece of that massive financial pie could provide an overnight catharsis to struggling economies that have been limping along since the economic collapse of 2008.
This is all new to every state who is attempting to regulate and offer legalized online gambling to their residents, and the structure has been different for each state that has so far presented some type of online gaming legislation. The new proposition in Ohio would award a $1 million grant to the seven Ohio Racinos (Horse Racing/Casinos) from a Casino Operator Settlement Fund for the initial two years following any online gaming legislation passage.
In the brick-and-mortar world, gambling is moving at a very fast pace in Ohio. And state legislators there have been busy ensuring that those type of gambling entities are fully regulated and legislated correctly. But with over $500 million in licensing fees from the seven physical Racinos alone, that is beginning to look like the proverbial drop in a bucket when compared to the possible number of online gaming licenses the state could offer as soon as this new legislation is passed.