State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R) said the Ohio sports betting bill, HB 29, could receive a vote in a special sports betting conference committee as early as next week.

During an Oct. 25 interview on Canton Morning News with Pam Cook on 1480 WHBC, Schuring said the much-discussed sports betting bill is still in committee. However, a meeting between Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R) and House Speaker Robert R. Cupp (R) this week could move the bill to conference committee as early as next week.

Is Ohio closer now to legalizing sports betting?

The members of the conference committee will discuss HB 29, which the Senate passed on June 24. Originally a bill permitting certain residents to obtain Ohio veterans ID cards, the Senate voted to tack on an amended version of SB 176, the original Ohio sports bill, to HB 29 in a surprising last minute move.

Members of the House refused to concur on the amendments to the bill on June 28 and discussion was tabled until the fall.

“President Huffman is working on scheduling a meeting this week with House Speaker Cupp to see what the house is recommending,” Schuring said in the interview. “This is very similar to the process when we’re in the final stage of our budget. The ultimate decisions have to be made by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, and then the conference committee will convene and hopefully we’ll issue a conference report. We’re getting there.”

The conference committee consists of members from both the House and the Senate. During next week’s meeting, the committee members will iron out details of HB 29 and potentially push the bill to a floor vote. It will have to receive approval from both the House and the Senate, and then be signed into law by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R).

DeWine, long a proponent of sports betting, has said in interviews he will sign a sports betting bill into law.

If the bill is approved by both bodies and signed by DeWine, it would have to wait 90 days before it could go into effect. Schuring said the Senate will suggest the application start date for sports betting licenses be Feb. 15, 2022, and applications would be approved no later than April 30, 2022.

What would legalized Ohio sports betting look like?

HB 29 includes three types of sports betting licenses. Type A licenses include state entities that have the ability to bank a bet, such as the state’s 11 casinos and racinos. Type B licenses will be for future brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Type C licenses allow for sports betting kiosks to be installed in retail establishments with D-class liquor licenses.

The bill allows for 65 total licenses; 25 online sports betting licenses and 40 retail sportsbook licenses.

Here are HB 29’s key changes from SB 176:

  • Professional sports franchises are no longer given preference for Type B licenses.
  • An Ohio county with a population of 800,000 or more may have a maximum five Type B licenses, up from three in the original bill.
  • A county with 400,000 to 800,000 may have a maximum of three Type B licenses.
  • A county with 100,000 to 400,000 may have one Type B license.
  • A casino or racino that receives a Type A license may have two online sports betting skins, an increase from the original one.