Ohio Lawmakers Hope To Address Sports Betting Soon

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Sports betting in Ohio has been on the top of everyone’s radar since the year began and the state Senate formed a special committee to focus squarely on the issue. 

Governor Mike DeWine came out in March and said he expects to sign legislation this year. 

But nearly nine months in Buckeye State residents are no closer to placing a bet on the Cleveland Browns or the Columbus Blue Jackets than they were on New Year’s Day. 

That could all change this fall, as advocates on all sides of the issue, expect something to advance to the governor’s desk.  What that looks like, however, remains to be seen.

“We of course need to resolve the sports betting issue, one way or another,” Senate President Mike Huffman (R) told the Springfield News Sun.

The Ohio General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene soon.  The Senate is back on Wednesday. The House has postponed coming back so the Ohio Redistricting Commission can finish up its work, according to Jessie Balmert, an Ohio statehouse reporter for various local news outlets.

Here is a look at where sports betting stands in Ohio and what is likely to happen next. 

State Senate Cleared Sports Betting Legislation

The Senate Select Committee on Gaming spent much of the spring hosting hearings on the matter.  In April legislation was introduced and the final product, Senate Bill 176, was passed in the Senate 30-2 on June 18.

But that bill was vastly different from what the committee hammered out during its months of work. Included in the final product were three different types of licenses, up from two.  

Type A is for online apps only and would be limited to 25. Type B is for retail establishments, or brick-and-mortar facilities, and would be limited to 33.  

The new addition, Type C, is for facilities with a liquor license, to offer sports bets at kiosks. It will be pre-authorized by the Ohio Casino Control Commission. An unlimited amount of businesses can apply for the license, but they would be restricted to two kiosks per establishment. There will be a $200 daily limit as to how much a bettor can wager on these types of machines, and their bets will be limited.

The cost of the application for the licenses varies.  Type A costs $1 million, Type B costs $100,000 for the first three years, then $25,000 annually.  Type C costs $100,000 for the sportsbook operator and $6,000 for the facilities that host the kiosks.  

The House passed different legislation in an effort to cram through a bill before summer recess. It is not expected to go far in the Senate. Instead, the House will likely take up the Senate-passed bill and offer its own amendments this fall.

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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