Lawmakers unveil new bill to legalize sports betting


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Senate Special Committee on Gaming will unveil its bill to legalize sports betting in the state Thursday morning at 10 a.m., according to the office of the bill’s sponsor Senator Kirk Schuring. The committee completed a series of nine hearings five weeks ago in which it heard from nearly 50 witnesses on the subject before rising on March 31 to begin drafting the bill.

Since the Supreme Court opened the door to legalized sports betting outside of Nevada in 2018, it has appeared in all of the surrounding states except one, Kentucky, and they aren’t far behind. Last spring, the house passed a bill that would have paved the way for sports betting at the state’s four casinos and seven racinos. One sticking point was oversight, whether under the direction of the Casino Control Commission or the Ohio Lottery, which will be a key point of the latest plan when unveiled on Thursday.

Another key element will be the number of licenses issued, whether it is limited to only casinos and racinos, but expanded to allow other cities and businesses to participate in the action. Last month, a fair game group called on lawmakers to do just that.

“If legal sports betting is allowed in Ohio, it must be structured to benefit all cities in Ohio – not just the four major cities that have casinos,” the group said in a statement. press announcing a digital advertising campaign targeting lawmakers. who might want to limit sports betting only at state-licensed casinos or racetracks

“If our state allows legal sports betting, we only have one chance to get it right,” said David Corey, executive vice president of the Ohio Coin Machine Association. “The good thing is to structure it in a way that allows cities like Canton and small businesses to share the benefits of this new industry.”

The state’s professional sports teams are also keen to obtain sports betting licenses, with each team being able to offer sports betting online and in person at their facilities. Cavaliers CEO Len Komoroski was among those who testified before the committee on March 24 about the need for legalized sports betting, saying fans were already doing it illegally to the tune of $ 100-200 million a year.

“These bets are taken on the black market which does not support local businesses, cannot be taxed and most importantly cannot be monitored or regulated.”

Komoroski’s testimony came just a day before the Cavs announced a partnership with Betway, an NBA licensed sports betting operator.

It is also worth noting the percentage of tax that the state will levy on the bookmaker’s socket. Compared to traditional gambling, sports betting earns much less for the operator but is considered a good generator of foot traffic, so although casino revenues are taxed at 33% after all bets have been paid, the earlier sports betting bill would have put the tax at 6.25. % which would have been the lowest rate offered by a state at the time. Most are between 7-10%, with Pennsylvania the only outlier at 36%.

“I think if you want sports betting to come to Ohio, things are going pretty well for you right now,” said industry analyst Jeff Edelstein, who covered the Ohio process for Sportshandle. He says Ohio has the advantage of being able to attend school in states that already have sports betting in place.

“I think it’s conceivable that there could be sports betting in Ohio in late fall, early winter,” he said.

Stay with News 5 Thursday for details of the proposal.

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