Ohio would issue 40 sports betting licenses under Senate gaming bill

Some Arizona officials believe the legalization of sports betting statewide would be worth...
Some Arizona officials believe the legalization of sports betting statewide would be worth overcoming any obstacles.(Cronkite News)
Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 11:49 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS (FOX19/Cincinnati Enquirer) - After years of debate, Ohioans could soon get to bet on their favorite sports teams.

Ohio senators proposed offering 40 three-year sports betting licenses that would cost $1 million apiece, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Twenty would serve as Class A licenses. Class A would go toward locations that can bank a bet, such as Ohio’s 11 casinos and racinos. They could then partner with betting app companies like DraftKings, FanDuel, or Barstool.

The other 20 licenses, called Class B, would go toward businesses such as sports bars that offer proposition bets. Prop bets allow sports fans to bet on anything from the outcome of a game to the length of the National Anthem.

The licenses would have to be renewed every three years.

Ohio’s professional sports teams wouldn’t be guaranteed a license, but they could apply for one, said Sen. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton. Those teams and the PGA Tour Memorial Tournament had requested their own licenses because they create the entertainment that fans bet on.

The new industry would be regulated by the Ohio Casino Control Commission and assessed a 10% tax. Proceeds would go mostly toward schools, both public and private, with 5% going toward problem gambling services. License fees would also fund education.

Schuring, who crafted the proposal, wasn’t sure how much Ohio would bring in.

“This is not about revenue generation. This is about something that is occurring right now in Ohio illegally,” Schuring said. “We want to put guardrails around it, and we want to make sure it’s being done properly with the right regulatory authority.”

Lawmakers hope to move quickly on the gaming bill, passing it before the end of June.

The proposed legislation would let the Ohio Casino Control Commission decide if Ohioans can bet on collegiate sports and the details of enforcing bets on college sports. The Inter-University Council of Ohio, which represents the state’s 14 public universities, had asked lawmakers to exempt collegiate sports from gambling in Ohio. Under the proposals, no bets could be placed on K-12 sports.

The Ohio Lottery Commission could also accept wagers on sporting events from adults age 21 and older in sports pools.

Any changes would take effect after Jan. 1, 2022, giving Ohioans time to adjust to the new proposals.

“The goal of getting sports betting done before we recess for the summer is a high priority,” House Speaker Bob Cupp said Wednesday.

The bill also allows for electronic bingo or eBingo at veterans or fraternal organizations. The option would be regulated by the Ohio attorney general’s office.

The bill would also create a committee to study iLottery, an online lottery option. Opponents say the option would cut local businesses out of the proceeds of the lottery. That group must submit a report by Jan. 1, 2022.

Copyright 2021 WXIX. All rights reserved. Cincinnati Enquirer contributed to this report.