COLUMBUS, Ohio — When the Ohio Casino Control Commission held its first meeting after the launch of legal sports betting in the state on New Year’s Day, Executive Director Matt Schuler found himself dealing with an issue that wasn’t on the agenda.
“It’s gotten my attention since we’ve been sitting here,” Schuler said. Dayton men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant held a postgame news conference after his team’s win over Davidson on Tuesday night “to address the hate messages sent to players that have been received in recent days from gamblers who have Disturbed by my own loss,” Schuler said.
“It makes me sick,” Coach Grant said. “I just ask all Flyers fans to understand we’re dealing with 18, 21, 22-year-olds and that’s who they are,” he said. “They have families. They shouldn’t, mental health is real.”
Schuler also gave a friendly reminder to fans.
“These kids go out and play games,” Schuler told committee members, reminding them that they may not have the power to control free speech, but they can control who can bet in the state.
“Hopefully I’m not infringing on our powers here, but the commission does have the power, through the General Assembly, to place people on the exclusion list for all gambling in Ohio, and I think it’s the commission’s responsibility to consider going into that power,” he stressed. “If social media is going to help us identify who these people are who speak out about their hate against kids, then the onus is on the commission to make sure that … these people don’t play legal sports in Ohio.”
“We obviously can’t control what people do, but we do have control over the venues they can choose to attend,” Schuler said.
Coach Grant didn’t elaborate, but his comments came days after the Flyers lost by one point to VCU, a game they hoped to win by 7.5 points.
A quick search of the team’s Twitter page turned up comments after the game about money missing or suggesting the game was rigged.
News 5 reached out to several local universities and Central American conferences to see if this was a trend. If they haven’t, they likely will at some point, Coach Grant said.
“It could really change the whole thing about college sports,” the coach said.