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After years of debate, sports gambling passes Ohio legislature, heads to governor

 The gaming floor at the Hollywood Casino in Columbus
Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
The gaming floor at the Hollywood Casino in Columbus

A bill that’s on its way to Gov. Mike DeWine would legalize sports gambling in Ohio starting before January 1, 2023. State lawmakers have been working on the issue since the US Supreme Court allowed states to set up sports betting in 2018.

The bill, which adds gambling language to a House bill on veterans ID cards, puts oversight over sports betting with the Ohio Casino Control Commission. Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) has been at the front of the negotiations.

“We all know that sports gaming is going on right now as we speak, illegally," Schuring said on the Senate floor. "As we’re going to put the necessary regulatory guardrails around it to make sure it is done correctly here in Ohio.”

The bill would set up 25 Class A licenses for mobile betting with the first sports book contract costing $3 million and the second going for $10 million. 40 Class B licenses will be allowed for brick and mortar betting at casinos and racinos and for professional sports teams, and thousands of Class C licenses for liquor permit holders to have betting kiosks. It would also impose a 10% tax on gaming receipts, with the money going to education. If it’s signed, sports betting could start before January 1, 2023.
For years lawmakers have discussed sports gambling and which entity would have oversight. Before adding their language to this bill, the Senate passed a bill earlier this year putting sports gambling under the Casino Control Commission. The House passed a bill last year to put the authority over sports betting with the Ohio Lottery.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.