Ohio Sports Betting Bill On Hold Until After Labor Day

Written By Matthew Kredell on June 29, 2021 - Last Updated on February 16, 2022
House Denies Sports Betting Bill

Sports betting legalization in Ohio will have to wait until the fall.

Late Monday night, the Ohio House voted 96-0 not to concur with Senate amendments to H 29. The amendments added provisions on online sports betting in Ohio and college athlete compensation for name, image and likeness to an unrelated bill on veterans ID cards previously passed by the House.

“Zero affirmative votes, 96 negative votes. The Senate amendments are definitely not agreed to,” said House Speaker Bob Cupp, putting emphasis on zero and definitely.

On the House floor, Republican Rep. Scott Wiggam and Democrat Rep. Brigid Kelly gave bipartisan support to voting down the amendments.

“The Senate added several amendments to House Bill 29, and they should be reviewed by the House,” Wiggam said. “And I urge a non-concurrence vote for HB 29.”

Kelly added:

“There’s a lot to unpack in this bill, and we should take the time and careful consideration to do it. So I also urge a no vote to not concur on the Senate amendments.”

Senate tried to get sports betting done before break

After a Senate committee worked on sports betting legislation for four months, it got a cold reception in the House.

Committee chair Sen. Kirk Schuring had pledged to get the sports wagering bill passed before the legislature recessed on June 30. Working with some members of the House, he completely pivoted on the Senate proposal in an attempt to gain House acceptance.

The new provisions were much friendlier to Ohio casinos/racinos. They include:

  • Casinos/racinos join sports teams in receiving preferred standing for licenses.
  • Increases Type B brick-and-mortar licenses from 33 to 40.
  • Counties with more than 800,000 people can have five retail sportsbooks, at least 400,000 get three sportsbooks, and at least 100,000 get one.
  • Casinos/racinos can have two mobile skins from launchsports teams one mobile skin. Previous language provided one skin for each, with another available after a year.
  • For sports organizations, lowers the costs of the 25 Type A mobile licenses to $1 million over three yearsMobile licenses for others remain at $2 million.
  • Conversely, management services providers still pay $2 million over three years to partner with a sports organization, but only $1 million over three years to partner with others.
  • Management services providers wishing to partner with Type B licensees now pay $100,000 for a three-year license, renewable for $25,000. Previously, these fees were the same as for mobile.
  • As before, 98% of state revenue on sports betting goes to K-12 education. Now half that money is earmarked for extracurricular and sports activities.
  • The fee for bars and restaurants to have sports betting kiosks was lowered from $6,000 to $2,000.
  • Adds official league data provisions stopping short of mandating the data be used for in-play wagers, but allowing the Ohio Casino Control Commission to require it.

Ohio sports betting legislation could move early in fall

After taking July and August off, the Ohio legislature returns to session on Sept. 15.

Rep. Kelly tells PlayOhio that the legislature won’t just be waiting for the session to start in order to begin conversations on sports betting. Rather, a conference committee will discuss this issue during the break.

“I believe the plan is to work on it over the summer and to be ready with a report on which to vote this fall,” Kelly said.

Cupp concurred about sports betting being a September priority according to the Cincinnati Enquirer:

“Over the summer, we’re going to be working on that to try to finalize it so when we come back in September, that’s one of the first things we do.”

An early fall vote as opposed to waiting until the end of the year could mean little to no difference in the Senate timeline. Senate language has the Ohio Casino Control Commission beginning to take sports betting applications Jan. 1 and awarding the first licenses by April 1.

Photo by Sebastian L | Dreamstime.com
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Matthew Kredell

Matthew has covered efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling since 2007. His reporting on the legalization of sports betting began in 2010 with an article for Playboy Magazine on how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting the expansion of regulated sports betting. A USC journalism alum, Matt started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News and has written on a variety of topics for Playboy, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.

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