New Bipartisan Bill Could Forge Path to Legalize Sports Betting in Ohio


  • Photo courtesy of Jack Entertainment
Ohio Lawmakers have announced the introduction of a bipartisan bill creating a Sports Gaming Advisory Board, taking the state one step closer to legalizing sports betting.

The "Sports Wagering" bill, sponsored by State Representatives Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) and Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati), follows the 2018 Federal Supreme Court decision to allow sports betting nationwide.

If all goes according to plan, the board would consist of 11 members, appointed by the governor, legislature, senate and house. None would be compensated, and membership would last three years. The Lottery Commission would also expand from nine members to 11, with at least three members with a background in sports betting.

The board would report to the Ohio Lottery Commission, providing recommendations for guidelines and regulations regarding professional and collegiate sports betting. The Casino Control Commission would report to lottery officials, and regulate gamblers.

Governor Mike DeWine (R) told the Columbus Dispatch he has not decided if sports gambling should be regulated primarily by the Lottery Commission of the Casino Control Commission.

The bill also includes a 10-percent tax on all wagers and an additional tax on businesses. The profits would benefit Ohio's K-12 education.

Currently, eight states have fully legalized sports betting. Taxation rates vary, but total revenue is frequently over a million dollars monthly in most states.

In March, State Senators Sean O'Brien (D-32) and John Eklund (R-18) introduced Senate Bill 111, which would allow casinos and racinos to regulate sports betting, at a tax rate of about 6-percent. SB-111 does not outline how the tax funds would be used.

Lt. Gov. John Husted told the Cincinnati Inquirer that he and Gov. DeWine supported using the funds to excise fees for pay-to-participate sports and other extracurriculars.

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