Ohio Lawmakers Approve Sports Betting

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Ohio sports betting took a giant step forward toward legalization with both chambers overwhelmingly approving long-stalled and sought-after legislation. 

The amended version of House Bill 29 was first passed by the Senate 31-1, and later by the House, 72-12.  

Governor Mike DeWine said earlier this year he hoped to sign a bill legalizing sports betting, in part because it’s already going on. 

Key Points In Ohio Sports Betting Agreement

Sports bets on collegiate and professional games, as well as Olympic, horse racing, and race car events, as well as esports will be legal under the terms of the legislation. The legal age to bet is set at 21.  

The deadline for the kickoff of sports betting in the state is Jan. 1, 2023. It is possible sports betting could be operational before 2023, but under Ohio law regulatory requirements will dictate the pace at which betting begins. Even if DeWine signs the bill tomorrow, a review period will kick in, delaying implementation until mid-2022 at the earliest.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission will regulate sports betting.

The legislation says there will be a maximum of 25 licenses for large retailers – existing casinos and racinos – who can support their bets, such as existing casinos who could join forces with mobile apps such as FanDuel or DraftKings. More licenses could be made available, but the applicants would have to demonstrate “the sports gaming market [in Ohio] needs additional …gaming proprietors.”

License applicants would be allowed to team up with at most two “skins,” with a different cost for each, according to The Columbus Dispatch. The first would cost $3 million, the second would cost $10 million. 

A bone of contention in getting the bill over the finish line was allowing certain entertainment facilities to host sports betting kiosks for over/under bets. Wednesday’s legislation allows bars and restaurants with a specific license to host the kiosks.  


About the Author
Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today with a focus on legislation and political content. Mary 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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