Lawmakers optimistic an Ohio sports betting bill is on its way
In late March State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R) concluded the Ohio Select Committee on Gaming’s hearing on sports betting with assurances that a new sports betting bill would likely be introduced in April.
While there are only two more days left in April with no signs of a sports betting bill, several Ohio lawmakers have recently made comments that an online and in-person sports betting bill is on its way for the state.
Lawmakers speak out in favor of Ohio sports betting
Perhaps the most optimistic comment came from Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-16) who appeared on the Pat McAfee show last week. McAfee asked Gonzalez if the state would jump into sports betting and the senator assured the host Ohio would have sports betting at some point in the future.
“They’re working on it, it’s politics. There’s debate as to who should govern it, whether it should be the lottery commission or the gaming commission. I won’t weigh in to that, but as soon as they figure that out we’ll have it. Ohio’s going to get it done, it’s just a matter of when,” he said on the show.
OHIO…Legalized Sports Gambling is on the way.
Let's GOOOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/ddclEdYYAh
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) April 20, 2021
Schuring also appeared on Canton Morning News with Pam Cook on 1480 WHBC for his weekly segment and said a sports betting bill is currently in the works. Schuring said he would likely call for a press conference to explain the bill’s details before formally introducing it and putting it in front of the Ohio Select Committee on Gaming.
“Over, as I think I told you last week, I put together over 200 bullet points on just the rules, regulations and governance. And then last week I met several times over several hours with Senate President Huffman. On Wednesday of last week, we finally got to the point where we offered language to the Legislative Service Commission, so the bill is actually being drafted right now. I expect it to come back from the Legislative Service Commission this week and we’ll introduce it soon. I think we’re going to have to have a press conference before we introduce it, just so I can explain exactly what it does and does not do. But, it’s coming, it’s going to be before the select committee on gaming here in the very near future,” Schuring said on the show.
Two different options for Ohio online sports betting
One of the biggest struggles over the bill will be who implements the sports betting program. Two camps are vying to give control of the program to two different state institutions. Ohio’s professional sports teams and leagues are in favor of a system that would have the sports betting program controlled by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, which allow sports betting licenses for Ohio’s four casinos, seven racinos and the state’s professional sports franchises. Each of these institutions would be eligible to apply for an in-person and online sports betting license.
According to News 5 Cleveland, the professional sports franchises would likely build retail sportsbooks in their arenas or “in close proximity” to their location. The franchises would also partner with sportsbook companies to offer online betting for state residents.
This model is similar to ones currently used in New Jersey and Michigan, which offer gamblers a number of different skins to choose from.
A separate plan is for the Ohio Lottery Commission to implement the sports betting program. This would likely limit the amount of skins available for state gamblers, but would allow restaurants, bars and bowling alleys the ability to have sports betting kiosks in their facilities for customers to make sports bets.
This model is similar to one currently used in New Hampshire, which only offers one skin, DraftKings, to its state gamblers.