An Ohio sports betting bill is finally on the move after more than a dozen Select Committee on Gaming meetings.
The committee unanimously voted SB 176 out of committee Tuesday afternoon, but not before the bill took on a number of changes.
An omnibus amendment made changes across a wide scope. Those included increasing mobile and retail sportsbook licenses, and giving certain lottery retailers access to more betting offerings.
There is also a pretty significant downside to the changes. Any Ohioan hoping to bet on the Super Bowl or most of March Madness will still have to go out of state in 2022. The amendment calls for the first Ohio sportsbook licenses to be awarded no sooner than April 1.
SB 176 now heads to the Senate Rules and Reference Committee, which next meets at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Why delay Ohio sports betting start?
The original bill noted OH sports betting and electronic bingo operations could not start until Jan. 1, 2022. That language is gone and instead says the application period for both opens Jan. 1.
Committee Chairman Kirk Schuring explained:
“Here’s the thing: if we get this thing passed on June 30, which is our goal, or before June 30, it will take effect right around October 1. Obviously, you’re not going to hit the ground running. There’s rules that need to be promulgated, applications that have to be designed and disseminated.
Schuring added “everybody we’ve talked to” wants an equal start time, which is why the amendment carved out specific dates.
That means the GeoComply map that showed nearly 900,000 online gaming transactions within 10 miles of Ohio’s border during the start of March Madness will likely look the same next year.
Other changes accepted through amendment
The bill passed out of committee looks vastly different than the initial draft:
- There are now 25 Type A mobile licenses, up from 20, and 33 Type B retail licenses, also up from 20. That means there can be up to 50 online sportsbooks in Ohio following changes presented last week.
- Retail sportsbooks now have strict location criteria.
- Ohio’s eight professional sports teams, its NASCAR track and the PGA Tour‘s Memorial Tournament will have preference for mobile and retail licenses.
- There will also be no fewer than three but no more than 20 “D Liquor establishments” that can hold a Type C license for kiosks in their establishments. Those types of businesses typically include restaurants, clubs and hotels.
- Other establishments with D liquor licenses can host up to two kiosks on behalf of a Type C license holder. The kiosks will only offer spread, moneyline and over/under bets with a $200 daily limit.