Sports Betting Headed for Passage in Ohio Legislative Committee, Senator Says

Sports Betting Headed for Passage in Ohio Legislative Committee, Senator Says
© PA

An Ohio legislative committee has reached an agreement on a bill that would bring sports betting to the Buckeye State, according to a lawmaker involved in the negotiations.

State Sen. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton, said Monday he expects a sports betting bill to clear its first hurdle this week in a conference committee at the Capitol in Columbus.

“We have an agreement on sports gaming,” Schuring said on WHBC radio in Canton.

The senator told radio host Pam Cook that he could not go into details about the sports gaming bill but he said he worked on it through the weekend, "making sure the concepts and the legal form are one and the same.”

If the conference committee approves the bill, as Schuring expects, it will go for a vote in the full House and Senate. Schuring said the bill should be on the House and Senate floors this week for a vote.

“We’ve got everything staged up,” he said.

If the bill is green-lighted in each legislative chamber, it would go to Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, for this consideration. The governor has said he would be supportive of sport betting in the state.

Schuring said the long stalemate at the statehouse on sports betting in Ohio “could be coming to an end."

“This thing has been difficult,” he said.

Tough Ohio Sports Wagering Negotiations

Schuring said negotiations over sports betting at the Capitol have been like trying to negotiate an agreement between heated sports rivals, such as the Big 10’s Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes, and baseball’s longtime American League foes, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

“They're just naturally competitive with each other, and they want a piece of this new market,” he said. “That’s what really has been holding everything up.”

Mobile Sports Betting Included in Bill

State Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, has said a GOP bill under consideration would create up to 25 mobile licenses for casinos and sports teams, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. These licenses would allow people to use mobile devices to place bets.

Seitz told the newspaper most betting takes place on mobile devices.

The bill also would allow "40 brick-and-mortar store licenses” for sports betting at sites such as casinos, sports stadiums and arenas, the newspaper reported. In this scenario, stand-alone sportsbooks also could be considered.

Sports Wagering Expands Nationwide

Ohio is home to four casinos and seven racinos — horse tracks with slot machines. Even without sports betting, the industry employs almost 20,000 workers and has a statewide economic impact of $3.61 billion, according to the American Gaming Association.

Seitz told the newspaper sports betting under the current plan could begin in Ohio by Jan. 1, 2023, if approved legislatively and signed by the governor.

Across the U.S. market, sports betting takes place legally in 29 states and Washington, D.C. Among these states are some that border Ohio, including Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Sports betting is legal but not yet operational in Nebraska and Maryland.