Ohio sports betting legislation is finally on the move.
H 194 advanced through the House Finance Committee on Wednesday with one dissenting vote and received easy clearance on the House floor Thursday afternoon.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dave Greenspan, tells Legal Sports Report that he expected the Ohio sports betting bill to pass.
“We’re moving it now to start negotiations with the Senate over the summer so, when we come back early in the fall, we’ll be able to get a bill on the governor’s desk by the end of the year,” Greenspan said.
Ohio sports betting’s long time in committee
H 194 was last discussed in October 2019 when it received its eighth hearing in the Finance Committee.
Greenspan expected the bill to move last November, but it stalled in the committee. The bill carried over to 2020, and Greenspan thought it was ready to move early in the year.
However, after a focus on the budget and disruption due to the coronavirus, the committee didn’t begin meeting until May.
The committee added three amendments to the bill.
The legislative service commission proposed two of the amendments. The first one updated sections of the law referenced to their current versions. The second specified that the state lottery commission may choose to supply sports wagering equipment used at veteran’s or fraternal organizations through a vendor selected by the commission.
A final amendment added by ranking member Rep. Jack Cera requires the lottery commission to provide an additional 2,500 lottery terminals within 180 days of the law taking effect. It prohibits sports gaming from being offered at these terminals.
House and Senate have differences
There are some key differences between Greenspan’s bill and S 111 introduced last year by Sen. John Eklund.
The biggest disparity is the regulatory body. The House bill pegs the Ohio Lottery Commission to oversee sports betting, while the Senate bill puts the Casino Control Commission as the regulator.
The sponsors have spent more than a year arguing the point of contention. Gov. Mike DeWine weighed in that he preferred the Casino Control Commission. However, key Sen. William Coley, former president of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, indicated his support for the Lottery Commission.
Greenspan believes it will take the House passing his bill for the chambers to begin negotiations on working out the details of Ohio sports betting.
The Ohio legislative session runs to the end of the year. The governor’s press secretary indicated that he wants sports betting legislation passed before the November elections.