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Opinion: Best argument for legal sports betting - responsible gaming

24th September, 15:16

Take the bet on the Bengals to win or FC Cincinnati? Millions of people across the country, and thousands in Ohio, are asking themselves these questions as fall returns some of America's favorite sports teams to the field. The reality is that the majority of these bets are being placed through illegal channels, and it is happening right here in Ohio. As a native Ohioan, I look forward to the day when I can make a bet on an Ohio team and know I'm doing it legally and safely.

A year after the Supreme Court ruled that states could authorize sports betting, 12 states have already begun offering a legal market for consumers and the momentum is growing. Ohio now has the opportunity to join the rest of the Midwest, and nearly every neighboring state - including Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia - in creating a legal sports betting market and providing bettors an alternative to the illegal market, which has no consumer protections and no responsible gaming mechanisms in place.

With the industry coming together last week for Responsible Gaming Education Week, it is important for customers to understand that no longer is sports betting the smoky, dark corner of the bar transaction many conjure it to be. Today, it is a modern, mobile and online industry with operators competing for market share through innovative products and user experiences. This competition comes from not only legal operators, but offshore, illegal operators as well, creating issues for regulators, operators and consumers alike.

Legal operators have a responsibility to their customers, a responsibility we at DraftKings take seriously. On our platform, customers have access to numerous consumer protections, responsible gaming measures, a responsive customer service team and have the ability to withdraw their money whenever they desire. With DraftKings, our customers can place self-imposed limits on the amount of time on the platform, deposits and even the ability to access the platform itself. We want our customers to be able to bet on their favorite teams and players, but to do so in a manner that is safe and responsible.

A legal market, complete with mobile betting, allows operators the ability to monitor the integrity of the games, identify suspicious patterns and individuals, ensure customers are who they say they are, and just as important, are where they say they are. Ultimately, the lack of a legal alternative means Ohio consumers will continue to wager on the illegal market, missing out on the benefits provided by operators like DraftKings and leaving the state with no oversight and no ability to capture the revenue generated.

Fortunately, lawmakers have begun the conversation around sports betting and, rightly, consumer protections and responsible gaming are centerpieces of that discussion. At DraftKings, we look forward to lending our expertise and to the day when Ohio joins numerous other states in creating a legal sports betting market.

Sports fans in Ohio are making bets on their teams today, tomorrow and this weekend - it's time they do it safely and legally.