Ohio Legislature Introduces Sports Betting Proposal

About two months after the governor called legalized sports betting “inevitable,” the Ohio legislature released a plan that would allow for those within its borders to wager on both professional and college sports.

According to a report from the Washington Times, the Senate’s proposal would allow for 40 sports betting licenses. Those licenses would be split between online and retail sports betting.

Half would be allotted for the state’s casinos and racinos to partner with companies like DraftKings or FanDuel to offer online sports betting, while the other 20 licenses would be awarded to operators who would run a brick-and-mortar location. At this point, it would make little sense for states to legalize retail sports betting without an online option as the overwhelming majority of the sports betting revenue comes from online sportsbooks.

The legislation would mimic other states like Arizona which is allowing pro sports franchises to run sportsbooks at its stadiums. It will also allow small businesses like bars and restaurants to obtain a license as well.

Licenses would be good for a three-year period and cost $1 million, which will keep the majority of small businesses from trying to get one and leave it mostly to the larger companies. The Ohio Casino Control Commission would oversee the market and operators will be taxed at 10% of net revenues.

Most states neighboring Ohio have already legalized online sports betting and when Gov. Mike DeWine said that it was inevitable that his state legalize it as well, part of his argument was that the money was leaving the Buckeye State and heading elsewhere.

Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana and West Virginia all have regulated markets. Only Kentucky lacks one, but its Gov. Andy Beshear has been a vocal proponent of expanding gambling in his state as well.

The bill also will allow the Ohio Lottery the ability to run $20 betting pools, which would be run slightly differently than a traditional sportsbook. The losing tickets will fund the payouts for the winners.




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