Ohio may be on track to legalize sports betting by 2023 after lawmakers announced they’ve reached a “conceptual agreement.” [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Legislative leaders align
An Ohio House of Representatives member has announced that he and other legislative leaders have agreed on a proposal that could see legal sports betting launch in the state by 2023.
On December 1, Statehouse News Bureau correspondent Andy Chow said Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and other Ohio lawmakers have reached a “conceptual agreement.”
According to the Bureau, Seitz says the group will present its conceptual plan to Ohio’s House Speaker and Senate President for approval. Should the pair approve the draft, Seitz reckons it could come before conference committee for a vote as soon as next week.
While the Bureau reported that Seitz wouldn’t divulge details, he did state that the agreement ensures all players in Ohio’s gaming industry will get a piece of the action in a competitive market.
Keeping competitors happy
An idea of just how competitive Ohio’s sports betting market is comes through in a podcast interview with Ohio State Senator Kirk Schuring, which News-Talk 1480 WHBC shared via Twitter on November 29:
Legalizing sports betting is one of Ohio Statehouse’s most delicate issues, but Schuring said this week that members of the Senate and House were not responsible for delaying the bill’s progress. Schuring instead pointed to “the special interests who want to make sure their competitors don’t get an unfair, competitive edge. We’re trying to make peace and harmony among the competitors.”
Seitz also added his group of lawmakers wants to ensure the Casino Control Commission has enough time to “do all of the vetting that they are charged with doing under this bill.”
Ohio’s House Bill 29 would allow 25 mobile licenses that must be linked to retail sportsbooks. Those licenses will predominantly be for casinos and professional teams and leagues in Ohio. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) has long been in favor of sports betting and is likely to sign a sports betting bill into law.
“We want to make sure also that everyone starts at the same starting point. We’re not going to have some people get to market quicker than other people, that’s not fair,” Seitz explained.
Issues and challenges
While Schuring said this week that the Senate “passed sports gaming unanimously in June, and I think it will pass overwhelmingly in the House,” there are other issues to consider.
the House passed a bill giving regulatory authority to the Ohio Lottery Commission
While the bill Ohio’s Senate passed in June would give casino regulators the power to oversee sports betting, the House rejected that portion. In 2020, the House passed a bill giving regulatory authority to the Ohio Lottery Commission. In July 2021, Ohio’s summer legislative session ended without officials coming to an agreement on wagering legislation.
On December 2, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley waded into the battle. Cranley has called on the Ohio Lottery Commission to authorize sports wagering throughout the state. Cranley wants to allow bars, restaurants, and even convenience stores to offer sports wagering. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cranley said the move would bring in more money for schools.