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Government/Politics

Ohio Senate Overwhelmingly Approves Sports Gambling Bill

A view of the interior of the JACK Cleveland casino
Karen Kasler
/
A view of the interior of the JACK Cleveland casino

The Ohio Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill legalizing sports gambling, overseen by the Casino Control Commission. The House will now consider the bill, but has wanted the Ohio Lottery to control sports betting.

The bill creates up to 25 Type A licenses for casinos and racinos, which can partner with mobile apps, and up to 33 Type B licenses for brick & mortar sportsbooks in counties with over 100,000 residents.  Those would cost $1 million each.

Joint sponsor Sen. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) said there will also be an unlimited number of Type C licenses for kiosks at liquor permit holders establishments to take bets of up to $200 per day.

“If you’re at a sports bar and for whatever reason you don’t want to download the app, you’re a casual bettor, you can still go to the kiosk and place a bet," Manning said.

Those Type C licenses would cost $6,000 each. But they would be limited to two kiosks per establishment. The Ohio Casino Control Commission would determine the vendors of those kiosks, and each vendor would pay $100,000.

Revenue from sports gambling would be taxed at 10%, and 98% of that would go to K-12 education.

Betting will be allowed on pro and college sports, and the Casino Control Commission will provide discretion for events with athletes under 18. If the bill passes, licenses would be awarded starting April 1.

Local communities had pushed for the Ohio Lottery to oversee sports gambling, which the House had also supported in a previous bill. Ohio's pro sports teams wanted casinos to oversee sports betting.

But there are questions about whether lawmakers can expand gambling without violating the Ohio Constitution.

The bill passed the Senate 30-2. One Senator abstained - Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), who has a partial ownership stake in the Cleveland Indians.

Sports gambling has been under consideration in Ohio since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision allowing states to legalize it in 2018.

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