Ohio Senate Select Committee Moves Betting Bill Forward

Ohio Senate Select Committee Moves Betting Bill Forward
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The Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming’s seventh and last hearing on Tuesday finally gave some results for sports betting legislation moving forward.

An omnibus amendment with several key changes was harmonized into SB 176 and by a 7-0 vote was moved out of committee to the Senate Rules and Reference Committee, which will meet Wednesday.

The committee also gave a timeline that appears to push a unified start of legal sports betting in Ohio until mid-2022.

“Look, if we get this passed by June 30, which is our goal, or before, it will take effect right around Oct. 1, 2021,” Committee Chairman and State Sen. Kirk Schuring said during the hearing. “Obviously, you are not going to hit the ground running as there are rules and applications that have to be designed and distributed. Everybody we talked to said they want an equal start time and so applications for all of these licenses will be opened up on Jan. 1, 2022, and the regulatory authority that is in charge of those licenses will be awarded by April 1, 2022.”

Decoding The Bill

Key changes to SB 176 in the amendment for Ohio include:

  • Ohio professional sports teams shall have preference for Type A and B, including a sports facility that hosts an annual tournament such as the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament or the promoter of a NASCAR event within the state. It allows for three license holders to appoint an operator that would be considered the management service provider or mobile management service provider. It prohibits a sports gaming proprietor from having ownership control of the management services provider or vice versa. If a team moves out of the state, its license is automatically revoked.
  • Type A licenses will increase from 20 to 25.
  • Type B licenses will be increased from 20 to 33 and shall only be allowed in counties with populations of 100,000 or more. In counties with 100,000-500,000, there will be no more than one Type B license. In counties with 500,000-1 million, there will be no more than two Type B licenses. In counties with one million or more, there will be no more than three Type B licenses.
  • Type B licenses shall be awarded to an entity with significant economic activity in the county where the license is to be operated with an application fee to be $100,000 for initial with a $25,000 renewal fee in three years. The same regulations will be applied when reapplying.
  • Type C license shall be for kiosks in D liquor establishments, with the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) picking no less than three vendors to operate with no more than 20 to be granted a license. It has the same fees as Type B.
  • The OCCC shall give no preference to a licensee on the basis that the applicant currently has a contract with the State Lottery Commission or other state agency. The host license amount is unlimited but must be a D liquor holder (they will pay a $6,000 license fee with $1,000 going to the Type C vendor).
  • Hosts shall have no more than two kiosks in their establishments. The OCCC will do all pre-regulation and the Ohio Lottery shall implement the program and market the machines.
  • Kiosks bets will be limited to: spreads, money lines and over/under ($200 a day bet limit) with machines only accepting credit/debit cards. The vendor must ensure that payout can be made back to that card.
  • Study commission will be created on increasing problem gaming fund, youth sports fund and compulsive gaming.
  • E-bingo machines per facility will increase from six to 10.
  • All A, B, C and E-bingo license applications shall be accepted on Jan. 1, 2022, with the OCCC and AG awarding licenses by April 1, 2022.

Ohio Aiming For June

Schuring in early May released a 252-page plan for what he calls “a powerful bill that no one has seen before.”

The goal since then was to have the bill ready for Gov. Mike DeWine to sign by the end of June. It remains on track to accomplish that.

The Ohio legislature is in session until Dec. 31.

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