After years of debate, the Ohio Senate has introduced a bill that would legalise sports gambling in the state this year. Senate Bill 176 was introduced by Ohio State Senator, Niraj Antani, and it details the legalisation and regulation of the sports betting market, which may open in Ohio in January 2022.
A Bill to Legalise Sports Betting Has Officially Been Introduced
Allowing 20 land-based and 20 online licenses plus an offering from the lottery, a bill to legalise sports betting has officially been introduced in Ohio. Senate Bill 176 was introduced by Niraj Antani and details the legalisation and regulation of the sports betting market, which may open within the state, in January 2022. Under the new legislation, two types of license are permitted, as follows:
· Type A licenses allow vendors to offer sports betting through an online sports pool under one brand name each, with a single controlling person not permitted to obtain more than five of these licenses.
· Type B licenses (topped at a maximum of 20 per vendor) allow sports gaming agents to offer sports gaming at one retail facility.
Both types involve a non-refundable $1m license fee, deposited into the Sports Gaming Revenue Fund. In addition, there is a $10,000 non-refundable application fee, with the industry being calculated a 10% tax.
Currently, sports gaming is legal in every state bordering Ohio, with an exception of Kentucky.
The Goal is to Have Safe and Regulated Approach
Local state Senator is also a co-sponsor of the bill and he has recently explained that it’s a free-market approach to sports gambling in Ohio by saying:
“At the end of the day the people of Ohio wanted it, they wanted it since 2018 when the Supreme Court ruled states can in fact legalize sports betting and that’s what this bill would do. The Casino Control Commission would have until January 2022 to issue the licenses, and people will find out where they can bet and what apps they can bet on.”
He said that he has heard from residents who didn’t want to expand gambling in the state, but pointed to the possibility of out-of-state billionaires coming into Ohio and running a ballot initiative and creating a monopoly.
“That’s why we have to do it in a very safe and regulated approach which is what this bill does. The goal right now is to get the law passed before the statehouse recess for the summer,” he added.
The Senate has not yet set a date for any hearings for the bill, or assigned it to a committee.
Sports Gaming Coming to Ohio
Earlier this year, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine stated that it was only a question of time when sports gaming would become legal in the Buckeye State.
"Sports gaming's already in Ohio. Ohio's just not regulating it," DeWine said. "This is something that I think is inevitable. It's coming to Ohio. The members of the general assembly are working on that process. I will have the opportunity to see what they came up with. I will have the opportunity to weigh in at the appropriate time. But sports gaming is certainly coming to Ohio."