A self-imposed clock is ticking for the Ohio State Senate to finish its work aimed at making Ohio sports betting a reality.
State Sen. Kirk Schuring, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Gaming, and others have all said they want all action on their bill, Senate Bill 176, completed by June 30. For those counting at home, that’s 20 days.
During a hearing this morning Schuring said he expected to have a bill finalized out of committee on Tuesday, so the entire Senate could vote on it as early as Wednesday.
The committee has met more than a dozen times to hear from stakeholders, advocates, and opponents. The bill — which was first introduced last month — has already been amended several times.
Ohio, unlike other states, does not have an end date to its legislative session, so lawmakers have time to iron out the details. Regardless of what the Senate does, however, the House must also pass legislation.
Thus far, there is no companion legislation in the House. State Rep. Brigid Kelly is expected to lead efforts in the House, as she has in previous years, but has yet to introduce a bill. An email to her office seeking comment was not returned, but in previous emails, her office has said she had nothing to introduce at this time.
Governor Mike DeWine has said he expects to sign legislation this year.
Updates On Sports Betting Legislation In Ohio
The committee met twice this week and amended the bill. The latest version of SB 176 can be found here.
The committee plans to meet next week and Schuring has said any amendments for consideration must be delivered to the committee by 4 p.m., Friday, June 11.
As a result of the amendments already accepted, the bill in its current form includes:
- eSports wagers;
- A provision allowing horse racing wagers on in sportsbook apps;
- Only one mobile sports betting app per licensee for the first year, after that they may apply for only one additional license;
- The application fee for a license, either in Type A or Type B, is $500,000;
- Prohibition of sports betting for events where athletes are under the age of 18.
Schuring’s office provided a complete list of the most recent updates. It can be found here.
The legislation provides for two different types of licenses, Type A and Type B. Existing casinos and racinos will be able to offer mobile betting. Professional sports teams will be able to offer retail sports betting on-site, predominantly focused on prop bets. In total, 20 licenses will be issued in each “Type”, but with more restrictions on who can offer mobile or retail betting in comparison to other Midwest states.
Not Everyone Is Happy With Sports Betting Bill
Despite numerous revisions to the bill, at least one group is not happy with the legislation as it stands: small businesses.
David Corey, executive vice president of the Bowling Centers of Ohio Association, has been lobbying hard for a provision that would allow his centers — and other establishments like his — to offer sports betting in a similar fashion as to how Keno is administered. They worry they will lose out on business, especially after a particularly hard year due to COVID.
In an email he called the process thus far “extremely frustrating,” but he remains hopeful an amendment can be added by committee members to address his concerns.