Ohio Lawmakers Announce Ohio Sports Betting Bill

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Members of the Ohio Select Committee on Gaming announced this morning an outline of long-awaited legislation on Ohio sports betting

Sports betting bill highlights:

  • Two types of licenses, Licence A and License B;
  • Licence A includes existing casinos and racinos who can offer mobile betting;
  • License B includes professional sports teams who would want to develop sportsbooks on-site for prop bets;
  • Both A and B would be allowed 20 licenses or skins.  The casinos and racinos would be able to contract out with any entity they desired to run their mobile apps;
  • $1 million license fee, still to be determined if annual renewal or every three years;
  • 10% tax on all sports betting revenue;
  • Program administered through the Ohio Casino Commission;
  • Collegiate bet eligibility to be decided by casino commission;
  • Sports betting, if approved by lawmakers and signed by the governor, would not be legal before Jan. 1, 2022. 

“I think we have a good bill,” said state Sen. Kirk Schuring (R), chairman of the select committee, during a press event in Columbus, surrounded by other members of the committee.

A formal bill is expected to be unveiled later today. 

Next Steps For Ohio Sports Betting

Schuring said the committee will begin hearings on the bill next Wednesday, May 12. 

“The bill is malleable,” he said, adding however he hopes to have work on the legislation completed by the end of June. 

“It’s not easy to get consensus [and] I think we got a good consensus,” Schuring said. 

The bill sets forth a regulatory framework for sports betting, he said. There are more than 200 bullet points in the bill, he added. At the end of the day, however, it’s about opening the market up for Ohio’s benefit. 

“Gaming is here today in Ohio.  All we want to do is put guardrails around it,” he said. 

Schuring said he has not talked to Governor Mike DeWine (R) or his legislative counterparts in the House.  He expects to begin conversations with them later today.

Uncertainty About Small Business Operators For Sports Betting

While it won’t be clear until the specific language is unveiled, it appears the bill does not authorize small businesses to offer sports betting, the same way many already do with Keno. 

Daniel Corey, vice president of Bowling Centers Association of Ohio, said he was not happy with what he knows so far. 

We have to see the legislation. It hasn’t been released yet. But it does not sound promising,” he said in an email to Gaming Today this morning. 

During the press event, Schuring indicated he viewed the lottery — which administers Keno — as different from gaming. This was why the bill would put the casino commission in charge. 

A lottery is a lottery, it’s not like the gaming industry where you have to figure out the odds, he said.

According to a Legislative Service Commission report released by Schuring’s office, however, the state lottery would have a separate sports gaming program that caps bets at $20 and does not allow for bets that involve odds.

“Requires the State Lottery Commission, acting with the advice and consent of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, to adopt rules as necessary to implement the sports gaming lottery in a manner that is consistent with the provisions of the bill that govern sports gaming generally,” the report said.  

 

About the Author

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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