Ohio Sports Betting Bill Moves to House After Months Of Discussion

Written By Matthew Waters on June 16, 2021
Ohio sports betting

A proposed bill to legalize sports betting in Ohio is finally out of the Senate and on the way to the House.

The Senate passed SB 176, 30-2 with one abstention, to send the bill to the House after months of hearings.

Sen. Kirk Schuring, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Gaming, said earlier this month his hope is to pass the bill by the end of June.

If SB 176 passes, it will legalize OH sports betting, but not as quickly as some hoped. Recent changes mean the first legal bet will not be taken until at least April 1, 2022.

Ohio sports betting proposal quite different

The language to legalize sports betting in Ohio has changed a few times since the bill was introduced last month.

Here is what the proposal sent to the House looks like:

  • There are 25 mobile Type A licenses and 33 retail Type B licenses. Those 25 mobile licenses could lead to as many as 50 online sportsbooks. Licensees can launch one when licensed and apply for another after a year.
  • Type B licenses now have strict location requirements
    • No county with fewer than 100,000 citizens will host a retail sportsbook.
    • Counties with up to 500,000 citizens can have one retail sportsbook.
    • Up to 1 million citizens can have two retail sportsbooks.
    • More than 1 million citizens can have three retail sportsbooks.
  • There is a Type C license, which was created just this week. That license is for up to 20 D class liquor-licensed establishments to host kiosks. There are also an unlimited number of host licenses available for other D liquor-licensed establishments to host up to two kiosks each in connection with a Type C license. Those kiosks will have a $200 daily limit per bettor.
  • Sports betting revenue will be taxed at 10%. Two percent of those taxes go to problem gambling assistance.
  • Professional sports teams and leagues in Ohio will have preference for mobile and retail licenses.

Sen. Yuko votes yes, but pushes back against preference

Sen. Kenny Yuko threw his support behind the sports betting bill, but not without a few comments.

Yuko helped bring casinos to Ohio and is a bit of a gambler himself.

“I think I paid for some of that brick and mortar,” Yuko said of JACK Thistledown racino.

Yuko had a few comments for the legislation, which carved out preference for the pro teams, but not the state’s 11 casinos and racinos.

“The same very people who brought us so much for Ohio, who shared that money with all 88 counties, who has done so much for our schools, we’re kind of saying that we can’t help you,” Yuko said. “… The bottom line is the very casinos that brought us here to having this conversation today are kind of being forced out, and I’m kind of concerned about it. Can we fix this in the House? I hope so, I think this needs to be addressed.”

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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