House Passes Lottery-Controlled Sports Betting, But Senate Has Different Plan

May 28, 2020

The House has overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill allowing sports gambling, under control of the Ohio Lottery Commission. But there could be a long road ahead before betting on sports would be legal in Ohio.

Ohio has taken the first major step toward legalizing sports gambling since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on betting on sports in 2018.

Sports gambling would be allowed in Ohio’s four casinos and seven racinos, but also at veterans and fraternal organizations that meet certain criteria.

With the Ohio Lottery in control, Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati), the bill’s joint sponsor, says a 10% tax would go to education.

“We will create a legal, closely monitored industry and a pathway to increased funding for education in this state," Kelly said.

But in the Senate, President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) noted his chamber’s plan has the Casino Control Commission in charge.

“I think there’s a strong disagreement between the chambers and I also think that the governor is not in favor of it being through the Lottery Commission," Obhof said.

The Senate bill, which is still in committee, would have a 6.25% tax go to the state’s general revenue fund.

After session, Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) said he felt the Ohio Constitution requires sports betting to be overseen by the Ohio Lottery.