The long-awaited Ohio sports betting bill will be introduced Thursday, according to a key sponsor.
Sen. Kirk Schuring told local radio station WHBC he is still working on the bill. It will be unveiled at a press conference later this week:
“I’m working very diligently on that, conferring with my Sen. President Matt Huffman. It’s right now 250 pages. I’ll be working on it again today making some edits to it. We want to make sure when we introduce it – and by the way, when we introduce it we’re not saying it’s perfect, we’re saying ‘OK let’s have hearings and let the interested parties come in.’ But we want to make sure it’s at least written correctly and that’s what I’m working on today.”
If 250 pages sounds like a lot, it is, because this is not just an OH sports betting bill. It is a larger gaming expansion bill that could include electronic bingo, iLottery and video lottery terminals.
Plenty of testimony to craft the bill
Schuring and his other bill co-sponsors have plenty of material to build the bill into what most want.
Schuring led the Select Committee on Gaming through multiple hearings earlier this year. That gave casino operators, sportsbooks, tech suppliers, lottery retailers and pro sports teams time to voice what they want in the bill.
Once introduced, the bill will receive more hearings in Schuring’s committee.
Ohio sports betting so close in 2020
It looked like Ohio would be a late addition to the legal US sports betting landscape with a lot of momentum around SB 111. A couple of late changes, including cutting skins down to just one per casino, were too big to overcome.
Former Sen. John Eklund told LSR he was trying to keep key decision makers happy with his changes late in the session:
“I’m hearing from people – the approval from whom is pretty important to getting anything done – that the broad, widespread proliferation of this stuff is disfavored and the sort of wade-in, test-the-waters, let’s-see-how-it-goes approach is more appropriate.
“I’m trying to get a bill passed, you see what I mean? And I’m trying to not do anything that would turn people who could scuttle the whole operation against us.”
At this point, what is clear is that Ohio is losing tax revenue to border states that legalized sports betting. GeoComply presented data that showed nearly 900,000 online gaming transactions within 10 miles of the Ohio border over the first four days of March Madness.