The Ohio Senate is pushing for the creation of a bicameral conference committee to discuss sports betting legislation, which was approved by the upper chamber in the summer but has faced resistance from the state House.
A conference committee would allow members of the Senate and House to work out differences on legislation with the goal of passing a sports betting bill by the end of the year.
The Senate passed House Bill 29 in June, a piece of legislation originally focused entirely on helping some Ohio residents obtain veteran ID cards but was later amended to include a sports betting section. The House opposed the bill’s sports betting language before lawmakers left Columbus for the summer, leaving the future of sports betting legislation hanging until the fall.
Now that lawmakers have reconvened, the Senate is hoping to apply additional pressure on the House to pass a sports betting bill before the 2021 legislative sessions adjourns on Dec. 31.
HB 29 would allow for as many as 25 online sports betting licenses and 40 retail sportsbook licenses. The state’s 11 casinos and racinos could receive two skins, while professional sprots franchises and leagues could be eligible for a separate type of license which comes with one skin.
A third type of license would allow for sports betting kiosks to be placed inside establishments with D-class liquor licenses.
Counties with more than 800,000 residents could have up to five retail sportsbooks, counties with between 400,000 to 800,000 residents could have three sportsbooks, and counties with 100,000 or less residents could have one sportsbook.
Sports betting revenue would be taxed at 10% for both retail and mobile sports wagers.
Ohio is home to six teams in America’s big four pro sports (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL) as well as Ohio State, one of the nation’s top college athletic brands.