June 19, 2023 3 min read


New Bill Threatens to Double Ohio’s Sports Betting Tax

Rates may go up to 20% as the state attempts to divert more of the industry’s profits to community-focused causes like education

The proposed increase was part of a new omnibus budget bill. Although the Senate approved the legislation without mentioning the sharp increase, House representatives will likely question the measure’s inclusion. The state’s sports betting sector has experienced a sharp decline since January’s spectacular results, raising concerns regarding the industry’s long-term sustainability.

Such a Raise Will Bolster Statewide Education Programs

Raising sports betting tax rates is not a novel concept, as February saw Gov. Mike DeWine suggest such a measure. Although his proposal failed to gain traction, new legislation has made significant strides in achieving that goal. HB 33, the legislation covering Ohio’s next two fiscal years, contains measures to double the existing sports betting tax from 10% to 20%.

The new bill successfully passed the Senate discussions without referencing the drastic increase as senators focused on other topics like updated income taxes and education funding. Despite both Senate and House being under Republican control, representatives will likely voice objections to many proposed changes and will not miss the sports betting tax hike.

Education seems to be a priority in the new legislation, as it diverts significant funds from the Sports Gaming Profits Education Fund to more general applications. The first four months of 2023 bolstered state coffers by $44.9 million, aiding public and nonpublic education for young kids. Although doubling the sector’s available funds can have substantial long-term benefits, Ohio’s sports betting industry may be unable to support such a burden.

Increased Taxes May Hurt Struggling Operators

Despite January’s record-setting revenues, Ohio’s sports betting industry has shrunk substantially since its launch as monthly handle consistently trends down. Such disappointing results have also negatively impacted the state’s lottery, forcing it to operate at a loss. Doubling the tax rate would further strain an already struggling market, potentially making operations unsustainable.

Such potential issues will be at the core of the House-Senate conference committee discussions as they iron out the details of the new bill. The document will also include provisions for problem gambling research and assistance and the potential creation of a state commission to oversee Ohio’s gaming industry. 

Doubling sports betting tax rates would yield significantly more funding for education programs, but the measure may prove unsustainable in the long run. It is up to Ohio’s policymakers to strike an acceptable middle ground, fostering a sustainable gambling industry that contributes enough to society but still has room to grow and develop.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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