Could Sports Betting Be Coming To Ohio?

Ohio is one of the many states trying to legalize the sports betting industry, and a crucial decision is set to take place on Thursday. The Ohio House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill that would legalize the industry in the Buckeye State.

On Wednesday, the House Finance Committee took a vote on the bill and gave its approval by a vote of 29-1. House Bill 194 will now go in front of the entire House of Representatives for a vote on Thursday.

Republican Dave Greenspan and Democrat Brigid Kelly serve as the co-sponsors of this bill, and they are expecting a vote to take place when the House convenes on Thursday afternoon. Greenspan and Kelly have gotten plenty of support over their bi-partisan bill in recent weeks, and it’s a solid overall proposal.

House Bill 194 would tax all sports betting revenue at 10 percent, which is very competitive in the industry in the United States. Greenspan estimates that Ohio will receive close to $15 million in taxes from the first year that the industry is up and running.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission would enforce the gaming regulations throughout the state, with the Ohio Lottery Commission serving as the regulatory body. There are four casinos and seven racinos currently located in the state, and all of these locations would be able to offer sports betting.

In addition, veteran or fraternal lodges would also be able to apply for a license to offer sports betting.

Mobile and college betting

Another major reason that this bill has gotten plenty of support from other lawmakers is that mobile sports betting will also be allowed. Betting on collegiate athletic events will also be allowed as a part of this bill, which will increase the amount of money that the state is set to make.

Even though the House of Representatives is expected to approve this bill, it could face some challenges when it gets to the Senate. Senators John Eklund and Sean O’Brien have co-sponsored a bill in the Senate, and there are several key differences.

One of the first major differences is that the Senate bill calls for the Ohio Casino Control Commission to regulate the new industry. The sports betting revenue would also only be taxed at 6.75 percent, which would seem to attract more major sports betting operating companies.

The sports betting bill in the House would set aside the majority of the money for the education fund, with a small portion of that revenue going to help problem gambling. The Senate intends for the majority of the money to go into the state’s general fund, and lawmakers can then decide what to do with the revenue.

Greenspan and Kelly are confident that the bill that they have proposed will become the guidelines for any sports betting regulation that comes in the state of Ohio. The Senate will likely make some amendments based on the bill proposed in that chamber, but the House bill will likely be the one that is left standing.

If there are some changes made to the bill, both sides seem willing to work together to get something done in 2020. Any new bill would have to be completed before the end of the calendar year to be placed on Governor Mike DeWine’s desk.

Ohio is hoping to get a bill passed to keep up with their surrounding states, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia all currently have legalized sports betting, and they are taking revenue away from the Buckeye State. Ohio is expected to become a huge sports betting market if a new law is passed.

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Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.