As the Ohio legislature wrapped up before Easter break, Senator Kirk Schuring, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Gaming told lawmakers that when they returned, they should be ready to introduce an online betting bill.
“We’ve had nine hearings and almost 50 witnesses and I’m going to be working with each individual member, looking for their input and suggestions on how we will build a bill,” said Schuring, “and I would expect the bill ready to be introduced in the next few weeks, and from there I expect that bill to be referred to this committee and we’ll have more hearings at that time.”
A potential bill already has the backing of Governor Mike DeWine who said in a recent press release that “sports gaming is already in Ohio, Ohio is just not regulating it.” The governor believes that legal and regulated online gambling in Ohio is inevitable.
How the future Ohio sports betting industry will look still remains to be seen. The Ohio State Racing Commission told a recent hearing that it wants to be in charge of sports betting in the state since it is the current sports wagering regulator. Other options are the Casino Control Commission and the Ohio Lottery Commission.
But other interest groups also want a piece of the pie, including existing Ohio casinos and professional sports teams.
Some of the issues still be decided on include whether betting on collegiate sports will be permitted and whether Ohio residents can wager on them.
Another point that will be debated is what tax on sports betting will look like. One proposal recommends a 10% tax rate on all revenue generated by a potential market, while another suggests a 6.25% rate. The state will also have to decide how much to charge in licensing fees.
One thing remains certain: It will be a busy few months for Ohio’s lawmakers as they hack out the details of a sports betting bill.