Ohio Sports Betting Bill Now has a Timeline
Ohio Sports Betting: It now seems that Ohio may have the best opportunity of any state to legalize sports betting this year. In fact, it may very well be that the wait for a sports betting bill could only take another month.
Kirk Schuring, State Senator from Ohio, chairs the Senate Select Committee on Gaming and announced the timeline last Wednesday. According to the Senator, there will be two meetings before the two-week break in the legislature.
They return in mid-April and the committee hearings resume on April, 20th. Schuring feels confident that the gaming bill which includes sports betting will be ready and should be passed after the break.
Schuring has indicated that:
“During the two-week period, I’ll be contacting every member of this committee for their input on the bank of evidence that has been presented to us relative to gaming as a whole.
Then I’ll be conferring with the Senate President after I have a chance to talk to everybody on the committee. From that point we’ll build a bill, we’ll introduce a bill and when you all come back after the break we will be discussing a bill.”
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The hearings, thus far, have featured plenty of testimony from professional teams that are heavily supporting the passage of a sports betting bill.
The Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Columbus Crew are behind this timeline. Representatives from each were at the hearing last Wednesday.
Ohio is considered to be “behind the ball” as most of the border- states permit sports betting. The concern is that an illegal market now operates and there are no protections for Ohio citizens and no revenue stream for the State.
Ted Tywang from Haslam Sports Group, while representing the Browns and Crew expressed that:
“…We would like to see legalized sports betting in Ohio as soon as possible, and would suggest that the legislation include a concrete and accelerated timeline for regulatory implementation….we cannot continue to allow the illegal marketplace to thrive and have tax and commercial benefits leave our state by delaying the inevitable. We want legalized sports betting to be done right and as quickly as possible.”
The pro teams also indicated that they should each be permitted to participate by getting at least a mobile skin and preferably a brick-and-mortar license too.
Ted Tywang supported this by indicating that “ We are the ones who actually create the sports betting market.” Because of this, the professional sports teams want market access that allows the sports teams to participate directly.
Brian Sell, marketing officer of the Bengals, in requesting market access indicated “ How this access is defined is up to debate, but at a minimum, having access to a mobile skin seems appropriate.
Such a provision would recognize the significant economic investment the NFL, Bengals, Browns and other professional teams have made in the state of Ohio.”
As much as the pro teams want the legalization of sports betting in Ohio, and to be able to participate in the revenues, Colleges would like to stay out.
Bruce Johnson, president of Inter-University Council of Ohio and the former lieutenant governor expressed that he saw hosts of reasons to keep colleges from participating in sports betting.
He was concerned about the potential for sharing inside information, threats to the mental health of the players and integrity of the games as well as the overall risk of college students gambling.
The Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming meets Wednesday, March 24th, for the last time before the break. There will be plenty of discussion and then, when the committee meetings resume in April, expect a bill to be introduced not long thereafter.
What regulatory body will oversee the industry? Will it be the Ohio Casino Control Commission, as urged by the Senate or the Ohio Lottery Commission? Will the 11 casinos and racinos share the market with the pro sporting leagues? Stay tuned. We may know by the end of April.