Ohio Sports Betting Bill Update: Yes, Senator, We’re All Listening

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Ohio sports betting

Sen. Kirk Schuring will not give too many details concerning Ohio sports betting negotiations on a weekly radio interview because people are listening.

That’s what he told 1480 WHBC‘s Pam Cook on his weekly segment after he hedged a bit about where the process to legalize Ohio sportsbooks stands:

“This broadcast is being listened [to], the competitors listen to this and they post it. They sometimes say things that are correct and sometimes not. And so we have to be careful because if we start getting into all the intricacies of negotiations before you know it somebody’s running and claiming something as unfair or fair or whatever.

“So I hate to be so guarded but that’s how sensitive everything is.”

Text messages to Schuring’s cell number and calls to his office have gone unreturned since the House refused to consider the Senate’s pitch before summer break.

Time to legalize sports betting in Ohio is quickly fading this year. The legislative session closes at the end of the year but work tends to wrap up before then. Both chambers would have to approve the negotiated terms before sending it to Gov. Mike DeWine.

Ohio sports betting negotiations dragging on

Schuring was vague in his opening comments about the negotiations, which he said continued last week and will continue this week.

He did, however, make it clear it is not the Ohio legislature holding up the process:

“But I want to also just tell you that it’s not the legislature that is impeding us getting this done. It’s the special interests who want to make sure their competitors don’t get an unfair competitive edge. So that’s what we’re trying to do, make peace and harmony among the competitors.

“And I also will remind you that the Senate passed gaming unanimously in June and I think it would pass overwhelmingly in the House. So all we’re trying to do is put this together where the competitors will have some general agreement that it’s a fair and level playing field.

“We’re getting there. We’re not there yet but I’ll give you another update next Monday. Hopefully it’ll be something that everybody will be pleased with.”

In not Ohio sportsbooks, then …?

At this point, only one thing is certain: as each day passes, the Ohio legislature is one day closer to sending taxable sports betting revenue across its borders to neighboring states that decided they wanted the revenue.

Those include:

Mobile seems to be the issue

Since Schuring will not say, we are left to speculate. But it seems pretty clear mobile OH sportsbooks are the issue.

Schuring said as much a few weeks back: “When it comes to the operation, the mechanical stuff, I think we’re in general agreement but there are some things we have to work out as far as these online applications.”

As it stands, HB 29 would allow 25 mobile licenses that must be tethered to a land-based sportsbook. Those licenses will mainly be for casinos, and professional teams and leagues in Ohio.

Sports organizations will pay half what others do for those licenses, such as $500,000 for the initial license instead of $1 million. But they will also get half the skins others get.

Any organization other than a sports team or league can launch two skins under a Type A mobile license. Those leagues and teams are limited to just one skin as the bill is written.