The Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming held its final hearing Wednesday. Now the work starts again on crafting an Ohio sports betting bill.
Chairman Kirk Schuring confirmed the next steps will lead to a bill introduced in April:
“I’m going to be working with each individual member looking for their input and suggestions on how we will build a bill. Also I’ll be working very closely with our Senate President, Sen. Matt Huffman.
“I would expect a bill to be ready to be introduced in the next few weeks, sometime in April. From there I would also expect that bill to be referred to this committee and we’ll have additional hearings at that time.”
The final hearing included just three in-person witnesses and a slew of written testimony. That included some interesting data from geolocation specialist GeoComply that showed the demand for OH sports betting.
Plenty leaving Ohio for sports betting
The written testimony from GeoComply’s managing director Lindsay Slader focused on geolocation data from March 19-22. That four-day window covered the start of this year’s NCAA March Madness tournament.
The data showed 898,176 transactions from 29,193 unique devices within 10 miles of the Ohio border for the period. Slader said it’s “easy to conclude” Ohio residents traveled to border states including:
Backing up more GeoComply data
It’s not the first time the committee saw geolocation data. Dan Dodd representing iDEA Growth showed similar data from Super Bowl Sunday at the Feb. 24 hearing. In one day, there were 354,126 transactions from 26,547 devices in that same 10-mile window.
Four other organizations submitted written testimony on OH sports betting Wednesday:
- Conscious Gaming, which talked about responsible gaming and mentioned its self-exclusion platform PlayPause.
- Miami University of Ohio, which suggested its future Institute for Responsible Gaming could help the state collect data on addiction.
- NASCAR, which echoed calls from other teams and leagues to use official league data and get a license for a skin.
- National Council on Problem Gaming, which called for expanded research on problem gambling with a heavier emphasis on sports betting and fantasy sports.
Horsemen reps want cut of revenue
The only in-person witnesses to talk sports betting at the final hearing represented the state’s horse racing industry.
Renée Mancino of the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association spoke for 25 minutes and covered eight pages of written testimony. Dave Basler of the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association then stepped up to briefly sum up their stance:
“The example I like to give is, right now a guy comes to the track with $100 in his pocket. He bets the races, some churn on that, you win some you lose some. We receive 15% of that, split it evenly between the race tracks and the horsemen.
“Sports wagering comes into play and horse racing doesn’t get any part of it. Our first post time is 1 o’clock. Kickoff of that [Cleveland] Browns game is 1 o’clock. Fifty dollars of that hundred is going on the Browns. There’s no churn, none of that goes to horse racing. Four o’clock, live racing’s done, the game’s done, win or lose, horse racing loses on that proposition.”
The two called for the existing revenue share – between 9% and 11% from the state’s seven racinos and 3% from the state’s four casinos – extend to sports betting in OH as well.
Mancino’s testimony also suggested sports betting is already in Ohio through horse race betting. That means regulation should go to the Ohio State Racing Commission, though it is underfunded and understaffed, she admitted. Licensing fees and taxes from sports betting could fund an expansion, Mancino suggested.