HomePublicationsCurrent NewsletterVolume 27Issue 18Ohio Senate Working on Sports Betting Legislation

On May 6, Ohio Senators Kirk Schuring, Niraj Antani, and Nathan Manning introduced SB 176 to legalize and regulate sports gaming in the State. The proposed bill is the culmination of the Senate Select Committee on Gaming’s series of hearings regarding the expansion of gaming in Ohio and represents the diverse views of professional sports teams, local businesses, state lottery officials, and large casino operators.

SB 176 includes 40 sportsbook licenses. Twenty licenses are considered Type A online licenses that can be issued to Ohio’s eleven existing casinos or racinos. Type A licensees are required to contract with online sportsbook operators, and there is no limit to the number of operators a licensee can partner with. The remaining twenty licenses are considered Type B retail licenses for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, such as those in bars, restaurants, bowling allies, or other small businesses.

During the Committee’s May 12 hearing on the bill, SB 176 was amended to allow any entity, including Ohio casinos and racinos, to apply for Type B licenses. However, these retail licenses were likely meant to appease concerned small business stakeholders that consider sports betting a new source of revenue. According to an Action Network article, the Committee clarified that non-gaming entities can qualify for Type A online licenses as long as they have or can create a “substantial presence” in Ohio.

The bill would allow the Ohio Casino Control Commission to administer all 40 licenses, each at a cost of $1 million, renewable every three years. SB 176 also proposes to tax net sports betting revenues at 10%. Most tax revenue would be directed towards education, while 2% would be reserved for addiction and problem gambling services.

In addition to the legalization of sports betting, SB 176 would authorize the Ohio Lottery Commission to offer $20 betting pools that allow participants to wager on the outcome of games. Winnings would be equally divided among the winners less the Commission’s 10% take.

SB 176 would also permit electronic bingo at veteran’s and fraternal organizations. And, the bill proposes the creation of a Select Committee on iLottery that will study the “potential effect of online lottery ticket sales on retail lottery ticket sales” in Ohio.

Ultimately, SB 176 represents comprehensive gaming expansion in Ohio. Senator Schuring hopes that the bill ushers in “broad-based economic development.” An Action Network article reported that, according to the Senator, SB 176 is “free market driven, and comes with oversight from existing Ohio agencies with gaming experience to make sure Ohioans are not being taken advantage of by illegal gaming.”

 

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