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Ohio Gambling Regulator Voices Disfavor Of Kentucky Sports Betting Under 21

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on June 7, 2023 - Last Updated on February 16, 2024
Red Frown with Kentucky Sports Betting Ages 18+ will be able to gamble on sports

Ohio’s top gambling regulator thinks Kentucky made “a fundamental mistake” by legalizing sports betting for people aged 18 and older. According to WCPO.comMatt Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, said:

“I absolutely hate the idea that individuals under 21 can go across the border, open an account and bet. I think it’s horrible.”

But one company qualified for a Kentucky sports betting license says it will refuse bets from people under 21.

Kentucky legalized sports betting in March when Governor Andy Beshear signed House Bill 552 into law. The state officials haven’t announced the launch date as the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is still developing the rules.

Governor Beshear says state lawmakers and regulators are working overtime to prepare Kentucky sports betting for the upcoming NFL season. The aim is to have the sports betting market ready by September.

According to the American Gaming Association, of the 37 states that allow sports betting, Kentucky is among five that permit 18-year-olds to bet.

Ohio should consider banning all forms of gambling by people under 21

Like Kentucky, Ohio allows 18+ players to bet on lottery and horse races. But to place bets at casinos and sportsbooks, players must be at least 21.

In an article by WCPO, Schuler says that males 18 to 35 are most at risk of developing a gambling problem: “The younger ones are most vulnerable as they’re not at the age yet where they can thoroughly process the consequences of their actions. Not my opinion. Scientific fact.”

Schuler also emphasized Ohio should consider banning all forms of betting by people under 21. But he argues the problem is most acute for sports betting.

“The target audience for sports gaming are males, theoretically 21 to 35, but I suppose in Kentucky, 18 to 35. So, you have this convergence of the target audience being the most at risk,” he told WCPO.

The hope is that licensed Kentucky operators choose to offer gambling to 21+

The WCPO 9 I-Team contacted several gambling companies eligible for sports betting licenses in Kentucky. The news team wanted to see if the operators would offer bets to people under 21.

Caesars was one of those that responded. Jim Goodman, director of wagering development at Keeneland Association Inc, wrote: “In response to your question regarding the age allowed for sports betting at Keeneland and Red Mile, our licensed operator, Caesars International, has determined that 21 is the age allowed at our brick-and-mortar facility.”

BetMGM stated it “has a strict 21+ betting policy in all states in which we currently operate.” But the operator didn’t specify if that would happen in Kentucky.

Churchill Downs’ facilities, including Turfway Park and Newport Racing and Gaming, prohibit patrons from entering unless they’re 21 or older.

Schuler concluded:

“I do hope that the licensed sports books choose to offer it to only those 21 and older as a matter of responsibility. They’re going to have a problem on their hands if they don’t do something on the front end for responsible gambling prevention and be prepared for treatment.”

Photo by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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