After a two-hour delay due to budget hearings, the Ohio Select Committee on Gaming met for a 14th time for approximately five minutes Wednesday afternoon to announce changes to the proposed sports betting bill, SB 176.
Those changes include:
- Operators will pay $500,000 for both Type A and Type B licenses in the second and third years of operation. The initial fee to do business in Ohio is $1 million. In the original version of the bill, operators would have paid $1 million per year for each of the first three years.
- Esports have been folded into the bill and patrons will be able to wager on them.
- A prohibition on betting on events where athletes under the age of 18 are competing.
- Horse racing may be wagered on sports betting apps and at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.
- Any sports betting licensee can have one mobile license in year one, and then apply for a second one the following year. Previously, there was no limit on the number of digital skins per licensee.
The committee will reconvene Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. to hear testimony from interested parties.
Additionally, the chair of the committee, Sen. Kirk Schuring, told legislators any amendments to the bill must be submitted by 4 p.m. Friday, and at a time to be determined next Tuesday the amendments will be heard.
At that point, it’s hoped the bill can get to the legislature for a vote, as Schuring and the other members of the committee gave themselves a self-imposed deadline of June 30 to get the bill passed and on the desk of Gov. Mike DeWine.
And after months of exhaustive — and, at times, exhausting — testimony, it finally appears the finish line is in sight.
Whether the lawmakers can get legalized sports betting over the line, however, remains an open question, as this marks the second time Ohio legislators have tried to pass a sports betting bill.
Legislators first tried back in 2019, but it wasn’t brought to committee until 2020. And while it looked like it was going to get done last year, the Senate and the House couldn’t agree on which agency — the Ohio Lottery Commission or the Ohio Casino Control Commission — should run the operation.
The current bill in the Senate would have the Casino Control Commission in charge.