The Ohio Select Committee on Gaming unanimously advanced the state’s sports betting bill, SB 176, to the Senate. The committee approved significant changes to the bill after reviewing 45 amendments that were submitted by committee members last week.

The bill now moves on to the Senate and the House. If approved by both, and signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine, committee chairman State Senator Kirk Schuring (R) said the state would begin accepting applications for sports betting licenses on Jan. 1, 2022, with the goal of awarding licenses no later than April 1, 2022.

Ohio sports betting bill undergoes significant changes

Schuring introduced sweeping changes to the bill in the brief committee meeting. The bill now includes three types of licenses, as he announced the creation of Type C licenses, which will allow for sports betting kiosks to be installed in retail establishments with D-class liquor license. The committee included the following details for Type C licenses:

  • The Ohio Casino Control Commission will select no less than three vendors to operate the licenses and no more than 20 can be granted a license.
  • The Ohio Casino Control will not give preference for Type C licenses to applicants that currently have contracts with the state lottery.
  • A $100,000 initial fee and $25,000 renewal fee in 3 years.
  • Hosts will be allowed no more than 2 kiosks in a retail establishment.
  • Kiosks will only accept money line, over/under, and spread bets.
  • Credit and debit cards will be the only accepted form of payment at the machines.
  • A $200 day bet limit will be instituted.

In addition to the new license class, the committee also instituted further changes to Type A and Type B 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. The maximum amount of Type A licenses in the state has been increased from 20 to 25, and Type B licenses have been increased from 20 to 33.

The following changes were also included for Type A and Type B licenses:

  • Type B licenses will only be allowed in counties with a population of greater than 100,000, according to the 2010 U.S. census.
  • Counties with 100,000 to 100,000-500,000 shall have no more than 1 Type B license.
  • Counties with populations between 500,000 and 1 million shall have no more than two Type B licenses.
  • Counties with populations of more than 1 million will have no more than three Type B licenses.
  • Type B licenses shall be awarded to bidders with significant economic activity in the county where the license will operate.
  • Type B application fees will be set at an initial price of $100,000 and a renewal price of $25,000 at 3 years. The license holder will go through the same process and regulations when reapplying for a license.

Type A and Type B licenses will be exclusive from each other, Schuring said. The bill previously contained language that license holders would automatically qualify for a Type A license if they had  received a Type B license.

Ohio professional sports franchises have preference

Schuring also noted the state’s professional sports franchises would have preference for Type A and Type B license. These include franchises in the NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA, MLS and the operator of a sports facility that hosts an annual tournament on the PGA Tour. Promotors of a National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing conducted in the state will also be included, he said.

Professional sports franchises awarded licenses will be able to contractually appoint an operator that would be considered as a “Management Service Provider” or “Mobile Management Service
Provider” for all aspects of its sports betting services.