Ohio Sports Betting Bill Nears The Finish Line

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Ohio state Sen. Kirk Schuring (R) is charged with getting sports betting legislation on the table in Columbus.  

This morning the chairman of the Senate Select on Gaming went on local radio and said lawmakers are close to having a final product.

“We are coming down the home stretch,” Schuring told News-Talk 1450 AM in Canton, Ohio. “We are getting ready to introduce a bill.”

Schuring was short on specifics but highlighted the many components under consideration, saying it’s “all over the map.”

His committee held eight hearings this year.  He said they have heard from 50 witnesses who represent a wide variety of interests. From these hearings he has compiled “almost 200 bullet points” of what the legislation should entail, he said today. 

Schuring said he hopes to meet with Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R) tomorrow to review his proposal. Once they iron out the details he hopes to give the language to the legislative services office.  He did not give a specific timeframe for the bill to be unveiled but seemed to indicate it would be soon.

Multiple Pieces Of The Puzzle

Schuring said the bill would include all the competing interests in Ohio, including sports betting, casino gambling, veterans halls, ebingo, among others. In the past, he said bills only benefited one segment of the gaming industry, but this time he hoped to tie up loose ends.

“We’re going to wrap it all together,” he said. 

The state’s 11 casinos and racinos all want a mobile app. So too do the state’s professional sports teams, said Schuring. They also want to perhaps have the opportunity to convert the mobile app into a brick-and-mortar facility.

Bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, and even grocery stores want in on the action, Schuring said, although he cautioned he did not know how far the state would go in that regard.

Governor On Board

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) said last month he expected sports betting to become legalized in the Buckeye State soon.

He told reporters during a press conference it was already happening in the state but wasn’t regulated. He wants to change that.

“Sports gaming is certainly coming to Ohio,” he said at the time.

According to new analysis from a geographical database company, many Ohio residents took advantage of new mobile sports betting opportunities just across state lines in large numbers during March Madness last month.

WTVG-13, an ABC affiliate in Toledo, Ohio reported more than 900,000 location requests within 10 miles of the Ohio border in neighboring states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

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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