Sportsbook Columbus?

Buckeye CommentarySenior Analyst IMarch 15, 2009

Although I am certainly not against gambling in the Buckeye State, I am not interested in a Casino coming to downtown Columbus as recently proposed.

And, judging by the recent voting trends, it does not seem like residents of Ohio and Franklin County are particularly interested, either.

But I bet the sports-crazy denizens of our fair city would be more interested in something Delaware's Governor is rolling out soon.

Following up a campaign rhetoric, Jack Markell is said to be preparing a statewide sports lottery. While it would only allow parlay bets (meaning you have to make 2 or more picks per ticket) ,which is most likely intended to keep the gambling numbers lower than if they opened a full-fledged sportsbook.

Sports is a big part of the culture in Ohio, which has seven major teams when you include Ohio State football (which is a professional product for all intents and purposes). We do not have beaches or mountains, or major tourist attractions that provide a separate identity.

So, in my view, sports hold extra significance in the state and sports gambling makes the most sense if you are going to allow gambling. And let's face it, we already have multiple lottos and myriad instant ticket games so Ohio is essentially allowing gambling right now.

Without getting into all the political, moral, and economic pontifications, I think sports gambling is a more acceptable form of wagering because, in theory, it takes some aptitude to successfully gamble on sports.

Sportsbooks certainly do not have the mindless, degrading quality that slot machines typically engender in people's minds.

A quick mental comparison of the activities conjures up little, old ladies sitting on stools feeding coins into a blinking, noisy machine in numbing repetition, while sportsbook are filled with excited, information-gathering guys watching sports and celebrating the successes (and failures) of the teams playing.

In some ways, the sportsbook is no different than your buddy's house on Saturday afternoons.

I am sure many of you will disagree with this assessment and acceptability of the sportsbook concept, and perhaps I am biased because I like sportsbooks.

And, I realize that there is a chance that I am glossing over the possibility that having gambling so close to Ohio State increases the chances of something sinister occurring, but I think Ohio and Columbus residents would be far more interested in this concept as opposed to a racino or slot-filled casino.

And, I think there is some free space on Olentangy River Road.