DeWine Wants OH Sports Betting Tax Hike Weeks After Market Launch

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OH sports betting

The governor of the Buckeye State is already looking to double its tax rate for Ohio sports betting. 

Gov. Mike DeWine has proposed in his executive budget changing the Ohio sports betting tax rate from 10% to 20%.

Legal sports betting began in Ohio on Jan. 1

OH sports betting budget proposal

The proposal would also prohibit the usage of “free” or “risk-free” to describe promotional wagers. State regulators would then be able to prohibit an operator from using promos if they are found in violation. 

In addition, bettors who threaten violence or harm against those involved in sporting events would be excluded by the Ohio Casino Control Commission

“It is part of the package designed to encourage better compliance with the rules,” DeWine’s press secretary, Dan Tierney, told PlayUSA. “Ohio is serious about enforcing the regulations passed by the Ohio General Assembly.” 

Proposal quickly meets legislative pushback

Both legislative houses in the Buckeye State would have to agree to a tax increase. 

“I do not agree with this idea,” Rep. Bill Seitz told PlayUSA. “A low tax rate encourages legal play through regulated entities, which we prefer compared to illegal bookmaking outfits.

“Moreover, the betting has only been legal for a little over a month. So we don’t even know what kind of money the regulated entities are making.”

Strict OH sports betting regs

State regulators have been strict when it comes to responsible gaming. 

The OCCC has recommended multiple fines to operators over advertising violations. 

DraftKings was hit with a $350,000 fine for mailing ads to persons under 21. Barstool received a $250,000 fine for targeting underaged people during a College Football Show at the University of Toledo

BetMGM, Caesars and DraftKings were also docked $150,000 each for ad violations

Ohio advocates stress responsibility

Prior to the Super Bowl, the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio encouraged responsible wagering. 

“Gambling should always be approached with time and spending limits in mind,” PGNO executive director Derek Longmeier said. “The excitement of a wager should never mean more than the actual sport.”

Longmeier also encouraged Ohio bettors to be careful with promotions. 

“Ask yourself, would I bet this much if it weren’t for this offer?” Longmeier said. “Mobile sportsbooks offer customers the ability to set limits when creating their accounts. If you do end up using one of these deals, following safeguards are a great way to keep your betting under control.”

Operators want tax reduction in NY

The potential tax increase comes at a time when online operators elsewhere are seeking a tax reduction. 

Despite negotiating and agreeing to a 51% tax rate, NY sportsbooks continue to complain about how the rate is prohibitive on their path to profitability in the state. 

Yet with record-setting tax revenues coming in, legislators in the Empire State are reluctant to make a change. Sportsbooks have threatened worse odds and fewer promos if they do not get their way. 

NY Gov. Kathy Hochul projected nearly $900 million in tax revenue from online sports betting for fiscal year 2024PlayOhio projects that the Buckeye State could grab north of $50 million in annual tax revenue from legalized sports betting.