Ohio Sports Betting Bill Passes House Vote, Will Compete With Senate Bill Next

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Photo credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images. Pictured: Ohio State football team & stadium

A bill that would legalize sports betting in Ohio passed the House with an 83-10 vote on Thursday, just one day after advancing through the Ohio House Finance Committee.

Now, more than one year after the bill was originally introduced, it heads to the Senate.

The bill would allow online sports betting to launch in the Buckeye State and would permit betting at casinos, racetracks with video lottery terminals, and some fraternal and veteran establishments.

When it hits the Senate, however, it will be competing with another sports betting bill.

The Senate has its own version of a bill to legalize sports betting that would put the Ohio Casino Control Commission in charge of overseeing the industry in the state. As it is written, the House bill would anoint the Ohio Lottery Commission to regulate sports betting.

Governor Mike DeWine has stated his preference for the Casino Control Commission to take the reins.

Because of the differences between the two bills, the Senate could take action or begin negotiating soon.

“We’re moving it now to start negotiations with the Senate over the summer so when we come back early in the fall we’ll be able to get a bill on the governor’s desk by the end of the year,” Rep. Dave Greenspan told Legal Sports Report.

With multiple surrounding states already allowing sports betting — including Pennsylvania and Indiana, two of the largest sports betting markets in the country — legalization in Ohio would allow the state to increase revenue in an area it’s missing out on.

“Ohioans who want to wager on sports have to go spend their money somewhere else in another state,” Rep. Brigid Kelley told Cleveland.com. “Well, it’s either that or they call ‘their guy,’ or that’s how I understand it. But we can change that.”

DeWine has said he wants to legalize sports betting in the state, pushing the legislature to put a bill on his desk ahead of the November elections.

The bill’s movement from the House Finance Committee to the House marked the most action a sports betting bill had received in Ohio.

But it was still a long wait.

Greenspan said he expected the bill to move to the House in November after it had received numerous hearings.

After adding three amendments that include the act of betting at certain veteran and fraternal establishments, the bill advanced through the House Finance Committee following its ninth hearing.

Although work remains to be done, there appears to be a strong possibility of the state reaching DeWine’s deadline, which would legalize online sports betting in the state in late 2020 and allow Ohioans to place wagers likely the beginning of 2021.

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