After months of discussion, Ohio sports betting is on its way.

Members of the Ohio House and Senate approved a joint conference committee this afternoon and have approved HB 29, a bill to legalize Ohio sports betting.

“We said from the very beginning its about free market principles. It’s about economic opportunity that will lead to economic benefit, that’s the key. This will benefit the state of Ohio economically,” State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-North Canton) said before the Senate approved the joint conference committee by a vote of 31-1.

The House approved the joint conference committee later in the day by a vote of 72-12.

Ohio sports betting no later than January 2023

The bill must wait 90 days before it can now become law. If signed by Gov. Mike DeWine, who has hinted that he will sign such a bill into law, it will launch Ohio sports betting by no later than Jan. 1, 2023.

“We hope it will start before then, but we want to make sure we do it right,” Schuring said.

Language will be included in the bill that makes the Ohio sports betting start date uniform for all license holders. Rulemaking, licensing approvals and other bureaucratic hurdles still remain before sports betting can be launched.

A 10% tax on sports betting revenue will be included in the bill.

Online and in-person sports betting included

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 67 total licenses; 25 online sports betting licenses and 42 retail sportsbook licenses.

Each Ohio casino, racino and professional sports franchise will be able to apply for a Type A license and partner with a sportsbook operator. Schuring said these entities can apply for and potentially receive a second Type A license if they meet certain requirements.

You can get it if you will bring an incremental, economic benefit to the state, and it won’t prevent another licensee from getting their mobile application,” he said. 

Type A licenses will cost $3 million for the first five years. If awarded a second license, the fee is $10 million for the first five years. After the initial five years, the license fees become a uniform $3 million each for an additional five years.

As for Type B licenses, there are limits for the number of licenses in each county based on population:

  • 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.

Professional sports franchises, casinos and racinos can also apply for Type B licenses. This also includes NASCAR hosted events and PGA events in Ohio.

Type C licenses will all for self-serve sports betting kiosks to be installed in retail establishments with D-class liquor licenses. This would allow bars and certain restaurants to install kiosks in their facilities. Type C licenses will be regulated by the Ohio Lottery Commission.

Type C licenses are $1,000.

One-half a percent of all licenses fees will go to funding veterans services in the state. Revenue from sports betting will support Ohio education.

A long road to legalized sports betting

The state has spent months discussing the details of its sports betting bill. The Senate passed a version of the bill this past June, before it stalled on the House floor. Discussions picked up again this fall after Schuring announced a joint conference committee consisting of several high ranking House and Senate members who took weeks to hammer out the details of the approved bill.