Ohio Introduces Bill To Legalize Sports Betting in Senate

A bipartisan bill to legalize sports betting in Ohio was introduced to the state’s senate on Thursday.

Introduced by Senators John Eklund (Republican) and Sean O’Brien (Democrat), Senate Bill 316 would legalize sports betting across the state of Ohio. The entire bill currently reads as follows:

Section 1. It is the intent of the General Assembly to develop and enact legislation legalizing sports wagering.

Speaking with Cleveland.com, Senator O’Brien said that the bill was…sparse by design. His aim was to introduce simply something to get the ball officially rolling, as well as giving senators and citizens the opportunity to provide their input to help craft the bill. Senator O’Brien’s aim is to have the bill fleshed out by the end of September.

“My thinking right now is we already have casinos and racinos set up. I’d kind of like to keep it in those institutions because they are set up for gaming. I’m not sure we want it in every 7-Eleven…and every bar.”

Senator Ecklund said “My sense right now is, yeah there is very likely an appetite for this in the Buckeye State,” while speaking with local media. He also guessed the earliest that Ohio would see legalized sports gambling early-mid 2019.

The bill is (obviously) very, very far from complete. For Ohio to legalize sports gambling, both the senate and house would have to pass bills to legalize gambling. Then, Ohio citizens would have to vote to pass an amendment to the Ohio constitution. Ohio has already passed gambling amendments in the past to legalize casinos.

Adjusting the bill to account for taxes will be a big hurdle. Casinos in Ohio are taxed at 33% while racinos are taxed slightly higher at 33.5%. Tax revenue is split up differently for casinos and racinos. Casino money gets split between local schools, cities hosting casinos, the Ohio Casino Control Commission, Ohio Racing Commission, law enforcement training, and gambling addiction programs. Racino revenue simply pays the Ohio Lottery Commission’s expenses and the remaining money to education.

Update Across the US

The bill is simply a start for Ohio, but an important start. Ohio joins a list of 13 other states that have, at minimum, introduced legislation to legalize sports betting. The full list is California, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.

Mississippi, West Virginia, and Rhode Island will have sports betting legalized betting ready to go for the 2018 football season. Rhode Island will only have betting available in two locations. Pennsylvania had legal betting, but includes a 59-page application and $10 million licensing fee that’s keeping casinos from applying. New York legally allows four on-site locations to take sports bets, but the New York State Gaming Commission has yet to enact the necessary regulations to allow them to begin taking wagers.

Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey are the only states currently accepting sports wagers. New jersey is the latest to accept wagers, and had a roaring first two weeksthat saw over $3 million in revenue combined for the 3 bookmakers in the state.

https://www.gambling.com/news/ohio-introduces-bill-to-legalize-sports-betting-in-senate-1492300