Ohio Sports Betting Bill Appears Headed To Conference Committee

Posted on September 23, 2021
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Written By on September 23, 2021

Ohio sports betting is back in the legislative mindset after the Senate called for a conference committee to settle differences.

What those differences are at this point is unclear. The House has not offered sports betting legislation of its own this year, as the Senate spent months crafting its own proposal.

The original vehicle for that proposal, SB 176, is not the bill up for committee though. It is HB 29 instead, a bill originally focused on veteran ID cards, which the Senate tried to amend with an amended proposal to legalize Ohio sportsbooks.

Now it appears the Senate thinks enough is enough and there is no reason not to accept its proposal. The House refused to accept the amendments in June, which led to the Senate insisting on the amendments, according to the latest update.

Luckily for those hoping to bet legally in Ohio, there is still time to get a bill passed this year. Ohio’s legislature can run through Dec. 31 if needed.

Refresher on Ohio sports betting proposal

Ohio sports betting was a hot topic in June, but the combination of the legislature’s summer break and other huge sports betting stories pushed the topic to the back.burner.

Here’s a quick refresher on what the Senate proposes:

  • There are 25 online licenses, but there could be more skins than that. Professional sports teams and leagues can only launch one skin but others, like casino operators, could launch two.
  • Up to 40 retail sportsbook licenses will be available. This number is different than the original proposal. SB 176 was amended to give sports teams and leagues preferential treatment in licensing, but that created another issue. Population limitations around the retail sportsbook licenses could have left four casinos without retail sportsbooks. That is no longer an issue in amended HB 29.
  • The third license type is for up to 20 liquor-licensed establishments to host sports betting kiosks.
  • Sports betting revenue would be taxed at 10% regardless of how the bet is placed.

Regulators would not issue licenses until April 1, 2022.

Border states just fine with Ohio taking its time

There are four states benefitting from the lack of urgency in the Ohio legislature:

Those states are already guaranteed tax revenue from Ohio bettors looking to legally take part in NFL betting this season or next year’s March Madness basketball tournament.

Should Ohio keep delaying the bill, those four could get tax revenue from Ohio residents for part or all of next NFL season as well.

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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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