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Ohio betting program bogs down in details

Ohio is supposed to be ready to launch its legal sports betting program in January. But according to some stakeholders, that is looking less likely, as proposed rules prove daunting.

In fact, a report by WCMH-TV in Columbus suggests the Ohio Lottery Commission’s rules might have to be scrapped and rewritten. Among the problematic ideas is the requirement that sports betting sites be prepared to pay out — in cash — to winners as soon as a sporting event is over. Most of the kinds of businesses hoping to get a revenue boost by offering sports betting are not going to have on hand the potential tens of thousands of dollars necessary after a big event.

Ohio’s branch of the National Federation of Independent Business deemed it financially impossible for small businesses, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Grocers Association is not thrilled about the rule that requires sports bettors to cash in their winning tickets at the site of purchase, rather than going to one of the 600 grocery stores that are also Ohio lottery outlets.

Policymakers may be shooting themselves in the foot with all the complications.

“I’m fearful that a lot of our members, our small businesses, are going to say, after they understand the rules, ‘This is too much of a risk for me to take on. This is too much of a liability for me to take on,'” Chris Ferruso with the National Federation of Independent Business told the station.

Then again, maybe that is just the way said policymakers want it.

But if they want to dispel the notion that bureaucracy exists to serve itself, rather than Ohioans, they’d better reconsider — quickly.

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