Ohio House Expected To Vote on Sports Betting Bill Thursday Afternoon

Posted on: May 28, 2020, 02:57h. 

Last updated on: May 28, 2020, 09:11h.

The Ohio state House of Representatives is set to vote Thursday on a bill that would legalize sports betting in the Buckeye State.

Ohio sports betting
Ohio state Rep. Dave Greenspan makes a motion to pass a sports betting bill he sponsors during a House Finance Committee meeting Wednesday. The bill is scheduled for a floor vote by the full state House on Thursday afternoon. (Image: OhioChannel.org)

The House Finance Committee passed House Bill 194 by a 29-1 vote Wednesday. State Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake), who, along with state Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati), serves as the primary sponsor for the bill, told Casino.org after the hearing that the floor vote is expected to take place when the House convenes for its Thursday session at 1 p.m. ET.

The bill would tax sportsbook receipts at 10 percent, and Greenspan said first-year projections estimate the state would receive about $15 million. The Ohio Lottery Commission would be the regulatory body for sports betting, with the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) serving as the enforcement arm. The state’s four casinos, seven racinos, and veteran/fraternal lodges would be eligible to host sportsbooks.

The bill also allows mobile betting and does not prohibit betting on in-state college teams.

Senate Likely to Amend Bill

The Greenspan and Kelly bill is one of two sports betting bills currently before the Ohio Legislature. State Sens. John Eklund (R-Munson Township) and Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta) also sponsored a bill in their chamber that has some key differences.

For starters, the tax rate in the state Senate bill is just 6.75 percent. The bill also calls for the OCCC to regulate sports betting, instead of the lottery. In addition, where the House bill would earmark most of the revenue for education, with some money also going to address problem gaming, the Senate’s proposal puts the money in the state’s general fund.

Greenspan said neither he nor Kelly had the chance to discuss the bills with their Senate colleagues. However, should the House bill pass as expected Thursday, Greenspan expects the House bill to become the focal point for sports betting legislation in Columbus.

He added that he’s willing to work with the Senate to craft legislation that can satisfy both chambers.

What I would imagine is going to happen is that the House version will be the version that would get amended, and I anticipate we’ll have some amendments in the Senate,” Greenspan told Casino.org. “Then, we’ll come back on a concurrence vote, and hopefully avoid a conference committee.”

Lawmakers will have until the end of the calendar year to get the bill through the General Assembly and to Gov. Mike DeWine.

Ohio Represents a Big Sports Betting Market

Ohio finds itself surrounded by states that have already legalized sports betting and have sportsbooks open. They include Pennsylvania and West Virginia to the east, Indiana to the west, and Michigan to the north.

While his district near Cleveland sees some marketing from Pennsylvania books, Greenspan said his constituents are still about a 90-minute drive to the state line. Ohio’s western residents are getting targeted more by Indiana sportsbooks, especially down in Cincinnati, which is about a 30-minute drive from Indiana.

With a population of about 11.5 million, if Ohio passes sports betting, it would be the fourth-largest state in the US to allow it. With passionate fan bases for both pro and college teams and three major league markets, Ohio could quickly become one of the largest sports betting states once the state completely implements sports betting.