While constructing their sports gambling bill, Ohio has joined the ranks of other states in leaving out an integrity fee that would pay the professional leagues in America for wagering on their sporting events.
One of the sponsors of the bill, John Eklund believes that including an integrity fee is pointless to pay for states like Ohio.
“Give me an operational definition of integrity fee,” Eklund told Legal Sports Report.
“There’s any number of ways leagues might be able to participate in this exercise,” Eklund continued.
”If it’s simply a matter of we put on these contests and so we deserve to be paid for you allowing betting to go on with these games, I can’t get my mind around that.”
Eklund has co-sponsored the bill with fellow state senator Sean O’Brien. The two senators are the only legislators writing a sports betting bill in Ohio at this time.
For Senators Eklund and O’Brien the next step is to get the bill to committee for hearings.
“I think the bill is a darn good start,” Eklund said. “We’ll make every effort to persuade the chairman of the committee to start hearings on the bill very quickly.”
The senators have not made a final decision if online gambling will be a part of the bill presented for debate.
Eklund understands the challenges ahead and acknowledges that some residents may be opposed to sports gambling in the state.
“The…challenge is a fundamental question as to whether Ohioans want to allow mobile and online sports gaming at all,” Eklund said.
”It may be that some don’t approve of those sorts of things, and we’ll hear them out.”
Integrity fees are a small percentage fee that is taken out of each bet made and given to the professional sports league that governs the game the bet was made on.
Simply put, the leagues want to be paid a portion of the gross revenue that their sport generates in betting.
The problem for the leagues is that most states have widely rejected these fees and now, like Ohio, most of them are leaving the integrity fees entirely out of their proposed bills.
The idea for an integrity fee came from overseas as leagues in France and Australia currently receive small integrity fees from bookmakers.
But that practice does not seem to be spilling over to the United States.
One of the main reasons that states are rejecting the narrative of an integrity fee is that sportsbooks don’t have the margins to sustain a fee without increasing the odds for each game.
At most sportsbooks, a spread bet has a line of -110, meaning you must bet $11 to win $10.
If integrity fees became the norm, most sportsbooks would increase the odds to somewhere around -120 for a spread bet.
The bettor would have to pay more to win less. Sportsbooks argue that the increased odds brought on by these integrity fees are a recipe for disaster.
This is because the poorer return on investment would potentially drive more bettors to illegal bookies who offer better odds.
With the addition of Ohio to the states rejecting integrity fees, expect the leagues to continue to go home empty handed as more and more states adopt legalized sports betting.
Until then, if you reside in New Jersey and want to place a bet on sports, you can do that here:
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