Are you Feeling Lucky? Legalized Sports Betting Bill Introduced in Ohio Senate

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On May 6, 2021, Senate Bill 176 (SB 176) was introduced in the Ohio Senate by Senators Antani and Manning to legalize and regulate sports gaming. SB 176 is the result of eight hearings with an array of testimony from 50 individuals in the Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming. It covers three distinct gaming levels, monitored by three existing oversight agencies.

According to Senator Niraj Antani, “This bill will legalize sports betting and charitable E-Bingo in Ohio through a free market approach, while safely expanding gaming in our state. Ohioans want this, and they’ve made it clear to me, they want it now. We must move swiftly to enact this bill. I am honored to be a joint sponsor of the bill.”

“Sports gambling is already here, Ohio just isn’t benefiting from it,” said joint sponsor Senator Manning. “This bill is fair, no one gets a special benefit and the state has expert level diverse oversight. It’s a win for taxpayers and the economy.”

On-Line Sports Wagers and Brick and Mortar Wagering

Under the bill, the state will offer 20 licenses for mobile app on-line gaming and 20 licenses for brick and mortar sports gaming.

  • Licenses cost $1 million will last for 3 years
  • First come first serve
  • Casino Control Commission has oversight authority

Lottery

The bill allows for a sports wager system through Ohio Lottery retailers.

  • $20 wagers
  • Winnings are divided from losing wagers, much like the lottery
  • Ohio Lottery has oversight authority

Charitable Gaming, Electronic Bingo

  • Allows E-Bingo to become available to charitable organizations
  • Ohio Attorney General’s office maintains oversight authority
  • E-Bingo machines will be authorized by Casino Control to make sure they are not slot machines.

 Tax Structure

  • Ohio will receive 10% from Net Revenue of these operations
  • Revenue is directed toward public and private education
  • 2% is directed toward gambling addiction and problem gaming

The first hearing on the legislation will take place on May 12, 2021. As in the prior General Assembly, the House is also considering their own version of sports gaming legislation. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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