Could Ohio legalize sports betting after Supreme Court ruling?; more news

Some lawmakers and both candidates for governor have expressed openness to legalizing gambling on sporting events

May 17, 2018 at 12:45 pm

click to enlarge Sports betting in Las Vegas - Baishampayan Ghos (
Baishampayan Ghos (
Sports betting in Las Vegas

Hello, all. There is a ton of stuff happening in the news. Let’s get into all of it.

After a marathon series of meetings, representatives of the West End Community Council — who were told it was now or never — signed an agreement with FC Cincinnati around the team’s potential stadium in the West End. What’s in the agreement? Read our story here.

How did the deal go down? Read more about the hectic last few days for West Enders, including how they arrived at the team who negotiated their deal, here.

Cincinnati City Council subsequently passed the CBA between the team and the neighborhood representatives, removing one of the last obstacles between the team and a potential Major League Soccer expansion franchise.

• Cincinnati City Council yesterday also passed the 2018 Green Cincinnati Plan, a 273-page document that provides a roadmap for future sustainability efforts by the city. There are a number of diverse initiatives in that plan, but at least one garnered a couple no votes on council. There’s a proposal that the city consider a five-cent tax on plastic bags. That drew opposition from council members Jeff Pastor and Amy Murray. Pastor says the tax will affect low-income residents who need grocery bags to carry their groceries onto Metro buses.

• A former Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy has been indicted on a charge that he used excessive force against a county jail inmate. Jason Mize was arrested by FBI agents today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Southern Ohio announced this morning. You can read more about the charges against Mize in our story here.

• Nearly a quarter century after he took the helm of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, Chairman Tim Burke is retiring in a few weeks. The 70-year-old has presided over a recent growth spurt for the party, with Hamilton County trending blue for the first time in years. The precinct executives who make up the Hamilton County Democratic Central Committee will pick Burke’s replacement June 9, but so far, there’s only one official candidate — Cincinnati Municipal Court judge Cheryl Grant. Expect a few familiar names to throw their hats into the ring as well before it’s all said and done, though.

• Curious about where the new District Five Cincinnati Police station could go? After the old facility on Hamilton Avenue was vacated, CPD has been searching for a new location. The department recently decided on some finalists: one location in Clifton, three in Northside, two in College Hill, one in Camp Washington, one in Spring Grove Village and two in the Clifton Heights - University Heights - Fairview neighborhood.

• A U.S. Supreme Court has made it possible for states to legalize betting on sports. Will Ohio lawmakers take advantage? At least one longstanding gambling advocate isn’t waiting around to find out. Rick Lertzman, who has sponsored gambling-centric ballot initiatives, has introduced a new one aimed at letting voters decide next year whether the state should legalize sports betting. Lertzman advocated for a casino in Wilmington in 2008, but couldn’t drum up enough support. He’s not the only one eyeing legalization — some state lawmakers say they’re looking into passing a law that would make sports gambling legal, and both Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Rich Cordray, both of whom are running for governor, say they’re open to the idea as long as tax proceeds are used to fund public services like schools and police.

• All the intrigue around the FBI’s investigation into former Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger — and the fight over who will replace him — has brought activity in the Ohio House of Representatives to a halt, according to this Cincinnati Enquirer story. Republicans control the House, and they can’t meet to move forward on legislation pending before the lawmaking body — including restrictions on the payday lending industry, whose lobbyists are part of the investigation into Rosenberger — until they have a new leader. A four-hour meeting among GOP lawmakers Tuesday didn’t resolve the conflict. Rosenberger’s chosen successor, Rep. Ryan Smith, got 42 votes — shy of the 50 needed to take the role, while challengers Reps. Andy Thompson and Dorothy Pelanda received 20 votes and three votes respectively. It’s not a do-or-die proposition yet. The house only had a couple meetings left before the summer recess, after all. But there’s also no end in sight to the stalemate.