Ohio Lawmakers Introduce New Sports Betting Legislation

Sean O’Brien

Two lawmakers of Ohio have announced a new measure to see sports betting legalized in the state.

Two lawmakers from the Northeast region of Ohio have announced they are sponsoring a new bill that will work to see sports betting legalized in the state. Back in May, the United States Supreme Court decided to strike down PASPA, which leaves the decision-making process of offering sports betting to the individual states. Now, many states are moving to get in on the action, with Delaware and New Jersey already offering such wagering options. Senate Bill 316 was introduced yesterday, with two sponsors, Senator John Eklund and Senator Sean O’Brien.

Details of the Legislation

Sean O’BrienThe new bill introduced by the Senators would see sports betting a reality in Ohio but is quite short when it comes to details. O’Brien introduced the bill so that a bill number would be in place and made sure it contained generic language. The main goal was to alert the public and lawmakers that the Senators are working on a bill and they want opinions.

According to Senator O’Brien, specifics will not be available for the bill until next month or possibly September. The Senator is currently talking to individuals about the new industry. He has focused his efforts on talking to individuals who own casinos and racinos as well as bar owners. Both O’Brien and Eklund have been looking at the bills that other states have used to determine how Ohio should get started with sports betting.

O’Brien has stated that the option would be perfect for casino and racinos but having the option offered at places like 7-Eleven’s would not be feasible. Businesses that already take wagers are pretty much guaranteed to be able to offer sports betting if legislation comes to pass.

Taxing Concerns

When considering new gaming options like sports betting, lawmakers and regulators have to configure the taxes set for revenues earned by operators. This subject is always one that is up for debate. A happy medium must be found in order for operators to feel good about the amount they are paying while the state needs to benefit as well.

Currently, casinos are taxed 33% on their gross revenues. Racinos are taxed just a tad bit more at around 33.5%. With the casino percentage, 34% goes towards a school fund with 5% going to the host city. The remaining amount is given to several areas and groups, including addiction programs, problem gambling programs, the Ohio Racing Commission and the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

With the racinos, the revenues go towards the Ohio Lottery Commission. Once expenses are paid, the remaining money is given to education in the state.

The district where O’Brien serves is located near Pennsylvania, a state that has legalized sports wagering. For Ohio to keep up with this state and others, legislation needs to move forward quickly. O’Brien is hoping that the bill will pass so that business as well as sports betting revenues will remain in the state.

Since mid-May, there has been a boom in efforts to pass sports betting legislation in several states. Before the SCOTUS ruling, basically Nevada was the only place where players could wager legally on sports. Lawmakers as well as gaming operators see the potential that sports betting has in the US. Hundreds of millions of illegal sports wagers are made each year and with legalization and regulation in place, states can keep that money within their borders, using it how they see fit.

We will watch and see how the legislation progresses in Ohio and hopefully we will see the bill passed into law in no time.