40, that’s the number of US states predicted to have legalized sports gambling within the next three years. There are at least five that could introduce their own markets this year, which would take the number of legal states to 30, not including Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. Ohio could be one of the next states to legalize sportsbooks, provided lawmakers can come to terms with a new sports gambling bill introduced to the Senate yesterday.
Ohio Has Robust Sports Gambling Plans
Senate Bill 176 (SB 176) is the product of the work of three Senators in the state. It had been expected that some type of legislation was coming and the new bill has a lot of information to digest. Notably, there would the potential for 40 licenses to be issued, divided into two categories of 20. Type A licenses would be given to casinos and racinos that are able to cover all potential payouts, “known as banking the bet,” and Type B licenses would be provided to businesses looking to partner with online gaming operators to launch sports gambling.
The latter would also be available to professional sports teams to launch sportsbooks at their stadiums. Ohio has teams across the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS, which means there could be a lot of sportsbooks co-located at stadiums and arenas. In addition, bars and other businesses fall into this category, and any Type B license holder would be able to offer, among others, in-game prop bets. All licenses, Type A or B, would cost $1 million, good for three years, and Ohio would be given 10% of the take.
Legalized Sports Gambling in Ohio Inevitable
As much as gambling opponents may try to stop expansion, they’re fighting a losing battle. All types of gambling activity are going to continue to be introduced across the US and Ohio’s governor, Mike DeWine, has already indicated that it’s “inevitable” that the state legalizes the activity. It’s an established fact that, legal or not, sports gambling is taking place across the US. Legalizing it gives state governments the ability to capture the revenue that is being shipped elsewhere and also allows it to create programs to protect consumers and gamblers. Ohio Senator Nathan Manning, one of the bill’s sponsors, said it best when he pointed out that “sports gambling is already here, Ohio just isn’t benefiting from it.”
Despite the optimism surrounding the new bill, there is still a lot of work to be done. Previous attempts to explore legalized sports gambling in the Buckeye State have failed, but things are different this time. Ohio’s neighbors, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana, have their own sports gambling markets established, which means Ohio is losing money. It might not take long to find out the bill’s fate, as its backers expect the Ohio Legislature to vote on it – and approve it – before the end of June.