Ohio: Lawmakers Continue to Work on Sports Betting Legalization

Since PASPA was struck down in 2018, more than half of the US states have legalized and launched some form of sports betting. While legalization reduces the share of the black market, it also brings valuable revenue in the form of tax for each state.

Ohio Lawmakers Spent Years Trying to Legalize Sports Betting

Ohio is one of the states that are yet to legalize sports betting. In fact, legalization has been a hot topic for lawmakers in the last two years, but no compromise has been reached so far. But this doesn’t mean that there isn’t any hope for sports betting.

Currently, there are two bills proposed by Republicans in Ohio that call for the legalization of the activity. One of the bills stands out. It proposes the licensing of 40 land-based venues that would offer sports betting. According to the proposal, the density of the population would help determine the locations eligible for land-based licenses. Moreover, the bill features licenses for restaurants and bars, which will be able to offer sports betting.

On the other hand, the proposal calls for mobile sports betting launch, which will be offered by professional sports teams and casinos. Under the proposal, 25 such licenses would be featured. Considering how popular and easy mobile sports betting would be, lawmakers expect a big part of the tax revenue to come from that form of betting.

A topic that is still being discussed is whether the Lottery Commission or the Casino Control Commission is going to be responsible for licensing and regulating sports betting. So far, it looks like Republicans in Ohio support the Casino Control Commission to be in charge of the activity.

Democrats and Republicans Do Not Share the Same Opinion

According to Representative Bill Seitz, a Republican, the state may be closer to legalizing sports betting than expected. In a recent interview for The Statehouse News Bureau, Seitz revealed that he, along with other lawmakers created an agreement that pushes the way for the competitive sports betting market in the state. Seitz hopes sports betting to be launched in Ohio by January 1, 2023. However, before the launch, state lawmakers need to approve a bill, legalizing the activity.

With that in mind, not everyone agrees with the Republicans’ plans for sports betting. Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, a Democrat, who is looking to become a governor in the state, considers that sports betting should be available throughout Ohio in various locations even in small towns. Only recently, Cincinnati Enquirer revealed that Cranley disagrees with Republicans’ plans for sports betting to be regulated by the Casino Control Commission.

According to him, the activity should be offered more widely and not limited to casinos. Cranley explained that sports bars, convenience stores, and other venues might be licensed to offer the activity. His plan proposes similar licensing as the current lottery operators. Cranley outlined that this way, the revenue from sports betting is going to significantly increase, raising more money for schools in Ohio.

Ohio is not the only state that is facing challenges with legalizing sports betting. Ultimately, it will be up to the lawmakers to find the best way to legalize the activity, but so far it remains unclear when will that happen.

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