Following months of discussions and several amendments earlier this month, the state lawmakers approved the sports betting bill that would permit up to 33 retail and 25 online licenses.
Bill sponsors believe that the Bill could see its light by the month’s end.
The Language of the Bill has changed a few times since it was introduced last month. The most recent version is structured to give priority to professional teams and groups in Ohio, who fought hard for these reforms over as many as a dozen hearings early in 2021. But, this revised legislation may prevent some of Ohio’s casinos from offering retail sportsbooks, potentially causing yet another controversy in what has already been a long and complicated legislative process.
However, the latest Bill that overwhelmingly passed The Senate could end the business of some of the state’s casinos from the retail sportsbook and create another conflict in an already lengthy and complex legislative process.
Latest details on the sports betting bill
With some new changes, the Bill would allow 25 separate operators to apply for Type A online licenses, five more than in the earlier proposed Bill and 33 operators for Type B retail licenses; previously, the Bill allowed only 20 such operators.
Those 25 online mobile licenses could lead to as many as 50 online sportsbooks. Each licensee can launch one sportsbook when licensed and apply for another next year.
With the current amendments, the Type B Retail license has a strict location requirement.
The county with less than 100,000 population won’t be able to host a retail sportsbook.
Counties with a population of 500,000 citizens can have one retail sportsbook.
Two retail sportsbooks for counties that have up to 1 million citizens
Counties with more than 1 million citizens can have three retail sportsbook
The latest changes to the Bill give preferences to 10 professional sports organizations with Ohio franchises or events. That Bill specifically includes the NFL (Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns), NBA (Cleveland Cavaliers ); MLB (Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds); NHL (Columbus Blue Jackets); MLS (Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati); PGA TOUR; and NASCAR.
The Bill has passed the Senate and now has moved up to the House. The Bill sponsors believe that the Bill can pass the entire legislature by the end of this month.
The latest version of the Bill believes that it would appease both their colleagues in the House and state business interests.
The Bill has received support from Sen. Kirk Schuring and strong backing from Gov. Mike DeWine.