10TV: Sports betting allows for millions in school funding

Via WBNS – 10TV

By Clay Gordon

More than $7.6 billion was wagered on sports gambling since it became legal in Ohio just over a year ago. Although bets were instant, state services didn’t see money for months.

Numbers released this month show that Ohio made $935 million in taxable revenue during the first year of legal sports betting. Lawmakers earmarked 95%, or $193.8 million, of that for schools and the state’s five scholarships.

That money started hitting school bank accounts in September, combined with dollars from the state’s general funds and the lottery. 10 Investigates followed the money and discovered that Columbus City Schools is receiving $197 million in total state support.

CCS is the largest school system in the state but receives the third most funding. Cleveland Metropolitan School District was allotted $332.2 million for fiscal year 2024, while Toledo Public Schools receives $208.6 million.

Other school systems in the Columbus area are receiving millions in funding, which is also a combination of gambling money and general funds:

· Pickerington: $63.6 million

· Hilliard: $54.4 million

· Reynoldsburg: $52.2 million

· Westerville: $43.6 million

· Newark: $41.9 million

· Groveport-Madison: $40.7 million

· Olentangy: $36.9 million

The other 2% of sports betting profits were set aside for gambling addiction services. The Ohio Office of Budget Management confirmed that the Problem Sports Gaming Fund has received $3.3 million in tax and licensing revenue since January 2023, but none of it has been touched.

Bruce Jones sits on the Ohio Problem Gambling Advisory Board. He said that almost 20% of the population is at risk of developing a gambling disorder.

“Those that can be diagnosed with it, I would say probably well over 200,000 in the state,” Jones said. “I think it’d be a safe estimate.”

Jessica Franks works for the Ohio Casino Control Commission. She said industry experts were not surprised to learn that more than 90% of sports bets in Ohio were placed online. Sites and apps can track users’ gambling patterns, so the Commission wants to use part of the money for an intervention program, like social media sites identifying doom scrolling.

The Commission also plans to create a program to help college athletes report harassment connected to gambling anonymously.

“They get reached out to on social media, you know, based on their performance,” Franks said. “It could also be folks maybe that they live with or friends who maybe had money on a game that they were participating in.”


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