Maybe the Ford Motor Company will decide to get into the sports betting industry in Ohio.
At least that was the idea floated at Wednesday’s Ohio Senate Select Committee Gaming hearing, where the committee met for less than 15 minutes in its first effort to get its bill to the floor of the legislature and eventually to the desk of Gov. Mike DeWine.
The entirety of the quarter-hour was dedicated to changing a few components of the bill.
State Sen. Nathan Manning, vice-chair of the committee and co-sponsor of SB 176 spoke in front of the committee to explain the changes, most of which dealt with the two types of licenses the Ohio Casino Control Commission will be doling out.
The 20 Type A licenses — which are meant for mobile platforms — must be tethered to companies that have a “substantial Ohio presence,” Manning said.
These can be connected to the 11 existing casinos or racinos, but they don’t have to be.
“For the Type A, it clarifies that you do need to have some sort of presence in Ohio,” Manning said. “We are not requiring these Type A licenses to be tethered to a racino/casino — they can certainly use them as a presence or they can use some other presence, whether they want to set up shop here themselves, or someone threw out the example if Ford wanted to have a license … somebody that has people working and a presence here in Ohio.”
Additionally, language in the bill was changed to allow Type A license holders to “subcontract with as many (mobile operators) as they want,” Manning said.
Casinos could have retail wagering
Another big change was for the Type B, brick-and-mortar sportsbook licenses. In the original bill, Type A license holders could not apply for a Type B license as well, meaning existing casinos and racinos would be shut out of the brick-and-mortar game. The bill was changed to allow for a Type A license holder to also have a Type B license.
In addition, under the bill, the Casino Control Commission would have further say as to who does or does not get a license. For example, the commission will take into account what kind of economic development opportunities an applicant will generate and will also make an effort not to cluster brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Previous language in the bill indicated there was a “first come, first serve” element to the decision making.
“We want a free market, but we also don’t want the wild wild, west,” Manning said.
Ohio Speaker of the House wants sports betting bill done before end of June. https://t.co/CAvSrRVZuN
— John A Pappas (@yanni_dc) May 5, 2021
There are a lot of moving parts to the Senate bill, with some of the other key takeaways being:
* The Ohio Casino Control Commission will be charged with regulating the sportsbook industry
* The Ohio Lottery will be allowed to offer $20 betting pools to select winners on a single game or a series of games. Winners will split 90% of the money collected
* The casino control commission will decide whether betting on collegiate sports will be allowed
* Remote registration for mobile wagering will be allowed from the start
* The tax rate will be 10%
* Revenue generated will go to education and gambling-addiction programs.
Round and round
This is the second time Ohio legislators have tried to get a sports betting bill to the governor. Legislation was first filed in 2019, but not considered until 2020. Last year, things fell apart when the Senate and House couldn’t agree on whether the Ohio Lottery Commission or the Ohio Casino Control Commission should run the whole operation
In recent months, however, there seems to be plenty of political power looking to get sports betting legalized in the state, with Gov. Mike DeWine saying earlier this year that it will happen.
The Senate Select Committee on Gaming is expected to hold a few weeks worth of hearings in hopes of getting the bill passed before the June break.