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Ohio lawmakers say they've reached a possible agreement on sports betting

 Fans enjoy a Cleveland Browns home game inside First Energy Stadium.
Fans enjoy a Cleveland Browns home game inside First Energy Stadium.

Legalizing sports betting in Ohio has been one of the trickiest issues of the past few years at the Statehouse.

However, Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) says he and other lawmakers have crafted a possible agreement.

Seitz wouldn't go into details but said the agreement makes sure every player in the gaming industry can have a piece of the pie in a competitive market.

"It was always my objective to do what we could to encourage greater competition among the actual sports books," says Seitz.

Seitz says the hope is to pass a bill this month and to launch legalized sports betting no later than January 1, 2023.

"We want to be sure to give the Casino Control Commission adequate time to do all of the vetting that they are charged with doing under this bill, and we want to make sure also that everyone starts at the same starting point. We're not going to have some people get to market quicker than other people, that's not fair, we're all going to start at the same starting point," Seitz says.

If the House Speaker and Senate president approve the conceptual plan then Seitz says it could come to a vote in conference committee as early as next week.

Lawmakers have debated over whether the Casino Control Commission or the Ohio Lottery Commission should have oversight over sports gambling. The Senate passed a bill earlier this year that would give casino regulators the authority to regulate sports betting. The House rejected that change, and in 2020 passed a bill giving that power to the Lottery.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.