Ohio Lawmakers Offer No Halloween Treat For Sports Betting Fans

Written By Matthew Kredell on October 29, 2021 - Last Updated on February 19, 2022
Skin debate slows Ohio sports betting

Ohio Rep. Bill Seitz said he would turn into a pumpkin if the legislature didn’t complete sports betting legislation by Halloween.

Well, he’s starting to look a little orange.

Seitz is one of three House and three Senate members that formed a conference committee to reach an agreement on Ohio online sports betting language in HB 29.

He told PlayOhio that the conference committee could have reached an agreement by Halloween if the Senate stuck by the language it passed in HB 29. But one key change pushed by Senate members has put the chambers at an impasse.

“Some over there seem to want to restrict the casinos and racinos to one skin, not two,” Seitz said. “There will be no deal if that is their position, which by the way contradicts what they voted for in HB 29.”

Ohio sports teams seek skin parity

In the legislation previously passed by the Senate, casinos and racinos who qualified for mobile sports wagering licenses could offer two online skins. Sports teams only got one skin.

As a result of having double the skins, regulated casinos in Ohio also paid double the price for a license. They paid $2 million over three years compared to $1 million for sports organizations.

But it appears that Senate negotiators have heard from sports teams that want to limit everyone to one skin.

“From what I understand, this is something being pushed by the major league teams, who are going to get a skin themselves and now they’re trying to stop the licensed and regulated gaming industry from getting two, which will ensure greater competition in the marketplace,” Penn National Gaming senior vice president Eric Schippers told PlayOhio.

Sides still optimistic to reach Ohio sports betting deal

Despite the speed bump in negotiations, lawmakers and industry representatives who spoke with PlayOhio remain optimistic about passing sports betting before the end of the year.

Seitz previously provided PlayOhio with a seven-step process to pass sports betting legislation. It appears lawmakers have yet to reach the third step.

The Ohio House and Senate next meet on Nov. 10. Lawmakers will only meet for about a month after that. The legislature is scheduled to meet for the last time this year on Dec. 15.

Photo by AP / Nick Wass
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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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