Ohio lawmakers weigh sports betting possibilities

Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 @ 11:29 AM

Derrick Mason, a Baltimore receiver, scores a touchdown against the Bengals in this September 2010 game. FILE
Derrick Mason, a Baltimore receiver, scores a touchdown against the Bengals in this September 2010 game. FILE

It’s a better-than-safe bet that sports betting will become an issue for Ohio lawmakers at some point.

But they will most likely take up the issue at their own pace. After Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling allowing states to make laws allowing sports betting, Southwest Ohio legislators don’t think Ohio will take any action quickly.

Sports betting today is illegal in Ohio. Even after the new Supreme Court ruling, states are free to allow or disallow wagering on sports.

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In Ohio today, however, the General Assembly already has a full calendar from here to Memorial Day, said Ohio Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg. A vote for a new Ohio House speaker was set for Tuesday.

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“There are other things that are top of mind,” Antani said.

“We can work up a bill as fast as the General Assembly wants to move,” said Sen. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Twp. “But I think I know my colleagues well enough to say that they will be thoughtful, they will be deliberate in their process here.”

“This is a clean slate,” Coley added. “We can move in any direction people want to move.”

However, he identified three immediate “major” concerns with sports betting.

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Consumer protections should be in place, so that the books who take bets are clearly able to pay winners, he said.

Legislation must somehow attempt to address “problem gaming” and addiction to gambling, Coley said.

And he added, “You don’t want to damage the brand that sports has.” Legislation must address the concerns that some will have of athletes “throwing games” or of gambling influencing performance.

Plus, state government will need to collect taxes and handle an array of other imperatives.

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“Something as big as this is not something we should do quickly,” Antani said. “We should take our time, vet the issue, talk to members of the public — and we should talk with the different sports franchises and see what they want to do as well.”

Added Antani: “If we’re going to do this, it should be done right.”

Coley said he expected that he and his colleagues will have a “cursory discussion” on the issue Tuesday or Wednesday.

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“It’s kind of all over the map,” Coley said. “People who are strongly for it, people who are strongly against it.”

There’s also the question of technology. Coley expects some states will allow people to bet with their mobile phones.

“It’s important for us to hear from the public,” Antani said. “We as legislators are representatives of the people.”

Antani said he has heard only “a little” from constituents and colleagues on the issue. “A couple of people have made some Pete Rose jokes.”

As new as it is, the issue is already creating division. Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray has said he would consider allowing sports betting, while a spokesman for current Gov. John Kasich has indicated that the issue is not a priority for him.

Greene County’s Mike DeWine, the Republican candidate for governor and Ohio’s attorney general, has typically opposed expanding gambling in Ohio, a spokesman for DeWine has noted.

Penn National Gaming, which owns the Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway racino — one of Penn’s four Ohio casinos — released a statement saying the company was pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision to end the federal ban on sports betting.

“Sports betting could be another amenity at our Hollywood properties and help generate additional visitation, as well as drive incremental tax revenue for Ohio,” Penn said in a statement e-mailed to this media outlet. “We welcome the opportunity to discuss legal sports betting with legislators in Columbus and other key stakeholders.”

Gambling is already big business in Ohio. Statewide gaming revenues totaled $71.8 million in April, up less than a percent from 2017.

And the Ohio Casino Control Commission recently said gambling receipts are higher than they were last year through the year’s first four months. State numbers show total gaming revenues from the state’s four casinos were $284.2 million through April, up 2.2 percent from the same point in 2017.

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LISTEN: Good Sam dispatch has final sign off for emergency room

Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 1:35 PM

Workers remove sign just hours after Premier Health closed the emergency room

Dispatchers and EMS crews signed off for the final time as Good Samaritan Hospital closed its emergency department this afternoon.

The Dayton hospital, operated by Premier Health, has been closing down major units as it approaches the final close date of 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Watch the video above for the the final dispatch traffic as crews signed off.

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The emergency department at Good Samaritan Hospital closed its doors at noon Thursday. Listen to one of the last call signals sent out from the Dayton Fire EMS Council.

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Carillon Park’s newest building is about to rise

Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 2:06 PM

Brady Kress, center, president and chief executive, helped break ground Thursday with guests and friends for a new building at Carillon Park. CONTRIBUTED
Brady Kress, center, president and chief executive, helped break ground Thursday with guests and friends for a new building at Carillon Park. CONTRIBUTED

Construction is underway on a new building at the 65-acre Carillon Park.

Ground was broken Thursday on the new 32,000-square-foot Heritage Center of Regional Leadership.

The building will be a big one, featuring classrooms, meeting spaces, an exhibit gallery of nationally recognized regional leaders, an outdoor dining plaza, a restored 1904 Barney & Smith rail car and more, including a renewed Culp’s Café — “reimagined in the style of an early 20th century soda fountain,” Dayton History said.

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The site will also feature a 500-plus seat banquet pavilion.

Roll & Associates will serve as architect and Danis will oversee construction. Beavercreek engineering firm Woolpert is providing structural engineering support to Roll & Associates.

The project is expected to be finished next summer, with the building connecting the Kettering Family Education Center to Carillon Brewing Co.

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“As a private not-for-profit charity, everything we do is donor driven,” Brady Kress, Dayton History president and chief executive, said in a statement. “This new Leadership Center was made possible by the generous support of several financial champions.”

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Cordray: DeWine is ‘squishy’ on union issues

Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 10:35 AM

Richard Cordray, Democratic candidate for Ohio governor, spoke to the Ohio State Plumbers & Pipefitters Convention at the Dayton Marriott on Thursday. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Thomas Gnau/Staff
Richard Cordray, Democratic candidate for Ohio governor, spoke to the Ohio State Plumbers & Pipefitters Convention at the Dayton Marriott on Thursday. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Thomas Gnau/Staff)

Ohio unions are under attack and need to be strengthened, Richard Cordray, the Democratic candidate for Ohio governor, told a convention of plumbers and pipefitters in Dayton on Thursday.

Cordray brought a message tailor-made for unions to the convention at the Dayton Marriott, essentially rejecting any attempt to establish “right to work” laws in Ohio or to weaken “prevailing wage” laws on construction projects.

He also took aim at an apparent lack of federal progress on infrastructure improvements, saying it will be up to Ohio to address infrastructure needs.

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“We have to flex our muscles … and create that strong infrastructure ourselves,” Cordray said.

States around Ohio are increasingly embracing “right to work,” the common name for laws that make it illegal to force employees to join a union or pay union dues. As of 2017, 28 states had such laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures — including Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky.

“It has kind of surrounded us in the Midwest,” Cordray said.

He accused his Republican opponent in the governor’s race, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, of being “squishy” on right-to-work questions, charging DeWine with giving one audience one message and another audience another message.

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“You cannot count on him being on your side,” said Cordray, himself a former attorney general.

He insisted that right to work was a “central issue” in the campaign, saying, “Believe me, they have been pushing this in Ohio, as well.”

A spokesman for the DeWine campaign said DeWine has been endorsed by a number of Ohio unions, including the Tri-State Building & Construction Trades Council and others. 

“Richard Cordray has been trying desperately to convince voters that he is an inspired and energetic candidate, but having fallen short, he’s just resorted to traveling the state and talking about the only thing he knows has people excited for this November: Mike DeWine,” said the spokesman, Joshua Eck. 

Kenneth Vierling Sr. is president of the Ohio Conference of Plasterers and Cement Masons, which endorsed DeWine this year. 

“This was not an easy decision for us because he is the very first Republican candidate we have ever endorsed for governor in Ohio, but we believe that Mr. DeWine will best serve the citizens of Ohio and our members,” Vierling said in an email sent by a spokesman. “I am not naive and fully understand that politics is a nasty business, but the misinformation being spread around about Mr. DeWine regarding these issues is not valid in my opinion.”

Ohio voters nearly seven years ago overwhelmingly rejected Senate Bill 5, which would have limited collective bargaining among public-sector unions. More than 60 percent of voters rejected the issue.

Since then, Republicans have been generally wary of right-to-work questions, but early in 2018, two GOP lawmakers proposed creating not legislation, but ballot language — via six proposed constitutional amendments — on the question for a possible November 2020 vote.

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“Not on our agenda at all,” the Cleveland Plain Dealer quoted DeWine as saying during a campaign stop in late May when he was asked about the possible ballot initiative.

Cordray also defended “prevailing wage laws” that peg wages and benefits paid on public-sector construction projects to a regional minimum.

He said prevailing wage measures put “skilled workers and the best talent” on construction job sites.

Though Cordray most recently served as the inaugural director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C., he didn’t mention that role in his address in Dayton.

Asked about that afterwards, the candidate said he feels voters are “appreciative” of his work the CFPB, but that his campaign is about the future.

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Harry Potter festival coming to Ohio

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 10:03 AM

Real-Life Diagon Alley Gets Magical Holiday Touch

The magical world of Harry Potter is coming to Ohio.

Ohio-Made Getaways is hosting “A Magical Getaway: Celebrating Potter Palooza” in Lancaster on Aug. 3 and 4. Fairfield County District Library’s community-wide celebration of 20 years of Harry Potter is a two-day getaway with plenty of fun activities for wizards and muggles of all ages.

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Lancaster is less than two hours from Dayton. Guests pick up a Marauder’s Map at the visitors center at 205 W. Main St. The festival includes:

• A wizarding costume contest at the library on 2 p.m. at 219 N. Broad St.

• Wizard Rock Band Tonks & the Aurors concert at 3 p.m. at the Downtown Bandstand at 3 p.m. on Friday

• Quidditch Demonstration at Rising Park at 203 E. Fair Ave. at 10 a.m. on Saturday

• Hogwarts Herbology class, where you will create and tend to your very own magical mandrake plant to take home and watch grow

• Visit Ollivander’s Wand Shop at the First Presbyterian Church (222 N. Broad St.)

• Art and Clay offers a“Mischief Managed” dinner plate painting project with a fun and simple design

• Two Broke Artists lead a Harry Potter Youth Painting Class.

Learn more.

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