he Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming is set to reveal today their bill to legalize sports betting in the state according to the office of the bill's sponsor Senator Kirk Schuring. The committee wrapped up a series of nine hearings five weeks ago in which they heard from almost 50 witnesses on the subject before breaking March 31 to begin crafting the bill, reports the WEWS.
During last spring, the House passed a bill that would have cleared the way for sports betting at the state's four casinos and seven racinos, however control of the program has been debated between two different state institutions, the Casino Control Commission or the Ohio Lottery, which is one of the key points to be announced today.
Another of the key points to be announced during today’s press conference will be the number of licenses issued, and whether it will be limited to just the casinos and racinos or expanded to allow other cities and businesses in on the action.
David Corey, The Executive Vice President of the Ohio Coin Machine Association, said: “If our state allows legal sports betting, we have just one chance to do it right. The right thing is structuring it in a way that allows cities like Canton and small businesses to share in the benefits of this new industry.”
The state’s professional sports teams also want in on sportsbook licenses with each team being able to offer sports betting online and in person at their facilities.
Another important point to be defined in today's announcement will be the percentage of tax the state will levy against the sportsbook’s take.
Sports betting brings in much less for the operator when compared to traditional gambling, but is seen as a good generator of foot traffic so though casino earnings are taxed at 33% after all bets are paid the earlier sports betting bill would have put the tax at 6.25% which would have been at the time the lowest rate offered by a state. Most are in the 7 to 10% range with Pennsylvania the lone outlier at 36%.
Schuring said during his appearance on Canton Morning News with Pam Cook on 1480 WHBC: “It’s coming, and it’s coming soon”.
Schuring said that although the bill won’t be perfect on introduction, it will however be used as a jumping-off point for hearing and would hopefully answer some questions for the interested parties in the state.
His announcement came a week after his fellow lawmaker, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-16), during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show expressed his optimism that sports betting was inevitable for Ohio, reports the Saturday Tradition.
“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 into 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,” said Gonzalez on the show.
This model is similar to ones currently used in New Jersey and Michigan, which offer gamblers a number of different skins to choose from.
Additionally, a separate plan is for the Ohio Lottery Commission to implement the sports betting program. This would likely limit the number 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.