Ohio Lawmakers Introduce Sports Betting Bill

On Thursday, the state of Ohio moved a step closer towards the legalization of sports betting as lawmakers introduced a bill in the Ohio Senate. The state Senator Kirk Schuring revealed the bill proposal in a press conference, giving hope that sports betting could be allowed in the state very soon.

The bill proposal is for a total of 40 licenses being issued in the state of Ohio, with the fee for a three-year license being $1 million. Twenty of those licenses will fall under the category of Class A and will be available only to facilities that can “bank the bet”. These include the four casinos and seven racinos that are located in Ohio. Meanwhile, the remaining 20 Class B licenses will be issued to land-based sportsbooks that offer punters the chance to watch games live and place bets.

The brick-and-mortar sportsbooks eligible to apply for a license could be standing alone or located in a ballpark. This was a condition supported by Ohio’s sports teams during the eighth hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Sports Gambling.

Ohio Will Allow New Operators to Apply for a License, Tax Rate to be Very Reasonable

If the Class A license holders want to offer mobile sports betting, they can work together with sports betting operators like Draft Kings, Barstool, or FanDuel. While the 11 state casinos and racinos may have wanted to establish a sports betting monopoly, Schuring ensured that this would not happen. If any new operators wish to apply for a license, they can be authorized to offer sports betting in the Buckeye State.

Before the current bill was proposed, it had previous versions that were overseen separately. The reason for that was the question of whether the state Lottery or the Ohio Casino Control Commission should regulate sports betting. According to Schuring, however, this sector should be overseen by the Casino Control Commission as he sees the Ohio Lottery as a marketing agency rather than a regulatory body.

The proposed tax for sports betting is 10% and it will apply to all winnings after all bets are paid to punters. The money generated from taxes will be used to fund educational and problem gambling programs in Ohio. As sports betting has the lowest tax rate among all forms of gambling, however, sponsors of the bill ensure that money is not their main agenda.

As every state around Ohio, with the exception of Kentucky, has legalized sports betting, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced it was inevitable for the Buckeye State to also legalize wagering on sporting events. He also noted that sports gaming is present in Ohio but it is simply not regulated, which is something he hopes will change once the bill is passed.

The hearings on the proposed bill will start next week on Wednesday in the Ohio senate. In addition to sports betting, the bill also is concerning issues like E-bingo and I-lottery. As lawmakers hope for the bill to pass before the end of June, they have reached out to the Ohio governor’s office and the house to receive feedback on the proposed bill.