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Ohio Takes a Stand on Sports Betting Threats

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated Jul 6, 2023 · 8:56 AM PDT

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Wil Myers high fives teammate Jonathan India
Apr 13, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Reds right fielder Wil Myers (4) high fives designated hitter Jonathan India (6) after the victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
  • Ohio’s latest budget includes a provision to ban sports bettors if they’re found harassing athletes 
  • Ohio Casino Control Commission Executive Director Matt Schuler called for this ability earlier in the year
  • How this new policy will be monitored and enforced has yet to be revealed

Ohio sports bettors taking to social media to lash out at an athlete after losing a bet may want to think twice before logging on.

A new Ohio sports betting provision included in the approved Ohio 2024-2025 fiscal year budget will allow state regulators to permanently ban or place sports bettors on an exclusion list if they’re found to be harassing or threatening athletes over a sporting event.

It’s the first such provision ever approved in a state with legalized sports betting.

Commission Thanks Assembly for Additional Tools

A spokesperson for the Ohio Casino Control Commission told Sports Betting Dime that existing law already includes penalties for this type of behavior, but the new provision provides additional tools to address this type of behavior.

“The language in the budget pertaining to exclusion from sports gaming of persons who threaten violence or harm against persons who are involved in sporting events is guidance from the General Assembly that making threats against athletes is unacceptable and threatens the integrity of sports gaming. Existing Ohio law already has penalties for this type of behavior, and lawmakers have now given us additional tools to address these situations,” the spokesperson said.

Ohio Casino Control Commission Executive Director Matt Schuler called for this type of penalty back in January after he became aware of several incidents of state bettors threatening members of the University of Dayton’s men’s basketball team.

Schuler said the commission has the authority to place individuals on a sports betting exclusion list and suggested if the commission can identify individuals making such threats to college athletes on social media, they should be banned from legal sports betting in Ohio.

The incident Schuler addressed came from a January basketball game involving the Dayton Flyers. As reported by Cincinnati.com, Head Coach Anthony Grant called out individuals who threatened members of his roster after the team lost 63-62 to Virginia Commonwealth after leading by 14 at halftime.

“You know, these young men, we’re asking them to sacrifice quite a bit for us to be able to do what we do and enjoy what we enjoy. So I’m just asking all the Flyer fans just to understand that we’re dealing with 18-, 21-, 22-year-olds, and this is about them. This is about them. Alright? So those of us that love the Flyers – which is the vast majority of our fanbase – we appreciate you. Alright? But if this is about anything else that doesn’t relate to what’s in the best interest of the kids, what’s in the best interest of this university and this proud program and this community that loves the Flyers,” he said during his press conference.

Grant went on to say the sports betting has the power to change the landscape of college sports and sports bettors who “attack kids because of their own agenda” need to reevaluate their own priorities.

How Will This Be Enforced?

No details on how this provision will be enforced or monitored have been shared yet to the public.

In January, Schuler said if the commission can positively identify individuals making threats to athletes on social media, they should be banned from legal sports betting in the state.

Here’s what the approved provision says:

“Allows CAC to exclude a person from participating in sports gaming in Ohio if the person has threatened violence or harm against a person who is involved in a sporting event, where the threat was related to sports gaming and made before, during, or after a sporting event. Stipulates that this provision enhances and in no way decreases a CAC’s existing broad powers and authority in this area.”

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