Another week brought another drop in optimistic rhetoric from Sen. Kirk Schuring on Ohio sports betting.
Schuring told WHBC 1480 progress is still being made on negotiations for HB 29, which he amended over the summer to include language legalizing sports betting in Ohio. That progress, however, is coming quite slowly:
“We made more progress last week and we’re still working on a compromise to get us where we need to be to pass the conference report. We actually are at the stage now where we’re asking for the legislative service commission to draft language so others can look at it as we, you know, try to negotiate others can look at it and read it the way it will look when it becomes law. So we’re making progress.”
Remember: there was a goal at one point to have an OH sports betting bill passed by Halloween. Not even having proposed language drawn up yet for the conference committee to consider in mid-November, then, feels pretty far off the timeline.
Ohio still has time to get this bill passed. Most state legislatures are thinking about pre-filing 2022 bills at this point but Ohio’s legislature can run through Dec. 31 if needed.
Schuring shifting blame for Ohio sports betting delay?
Schuring acknowledged the frustration felt around the delay – then quickly made sure everyone knew he says it is not the Senate’s fault.
“I’ll remind everybody – I know this has been frustrating because it’s taking so long. But the Senate, when I offered the floor amendment to House Bill 29 – which is the bill that’s in the conference committee – that floor amendment, the sports gaming floor amendment, passed unanimously.
“So, you know, we’re just trying to work with our House colleagues now to get it to the point where it will be approved by both the Senate and House and we’re making progress.”
A quick refresher on that Senate proposal:
- There are 25 mobile licenses. Sports teams would be limited to one skin while others could launch two.
- There are 40 retail licenses for full sportsbooks and another 20 that would allow sports betting kiosks from the lottery.
- Sports betting revenue would be taxed at 10%.
Despite delay, Schuring still expects passage
It is now clear the House and the Senate were much farther apart than anyone considered when the conference committee was called.
Still, Schuring is hopeful. The delay has mostly been around finding a way for everyone – teams, casinos, racinos and lottery establishments – to get in on the market, he said.
“Everybody wants to be a part of the market and we’re just trying to get it to the point where we can have some semblance of order and get the bill passed. I think we will soon,” Schuring said.
Unfortunately for Ohioans, feeling hopeful for legal sports betting this late in the session is a familiar feeling. It looked like sportsbooks were ready to be legalized late last year until the Senators backing the bill changed too much at the last minute.
Those looking to stop spending weekends driving to legal betting states are hoping for a better outcome this time.