Why Sportsbooks Might Not Like New Ohio Sports Betting Bill Draft

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Ohio sports betting

If sports betting in Ohio is legalized this year, it may not be as robust of a market as expected after the draft bill reduced the number of licenses.

The latest draft of HB 194 cuts the number of OH sports betting licenses to two for each casino and racino operator in the state. That’s down from three in the previous version from September.

It’s not a huge surprise to see a change. Sen. John Eklund, one of the bill’s sponsors, told LSR he considered a lot of the major details in the previous draft as just placeholders. The original bill was passed by the House in May but would need to be re-approved with the changes.

More input was needed

In September, Eklund said the previous draft was based on a conversation with a few members. He wouldn’t commit to any details until all stakeholders had their say:

“They’re all subject to conversation with other senators, state reps and other interested parties,” Eklund said. “I commit to all of them that their input will be sought and considered, and I think that’s important for all parties that are interested in this to know. … To one degree or another, all of those things are placeholders.”

The legislature has until the end of the year to pass the Ohio sports betting law in the lame-duck session.

Changes to Ohio sports betting bill

The number of licenses allowed by each gaming operator in the state was the most significant change in the Ohio sports betting bill.

The new maximum of two skins per casino/racino means the market would be capped at 22 operators instead of 33. The Casino Control Commission remains the proposed regulator instead of the Lottery Commission. That was one of the only specifics Eklund was confident in from the last draft.

Other changes include:

What stayed the same?

There are a couple of positives that remained in the bill: