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US – Ohio sports betting bill heading to the Senate following House approval

By - 2 June 2020

The House of Representatives in Ohio has approved House Bill 194 that brings the state one step closer to legalising sports betting in the state.

It would allow online betting and retail betting to take place in racetracks, casinos, and video lottery terminals. Two key amendments were added to the bill. One outlined that the state lottery commission may choose to supply sports wagering equipment used at veteran’s or fraternal organisations through a vendor selected by the commission. The second will see the lottery commission provide an additional 2,500 lottery terminals within 180 days of the law taking effect. Sports betting will not be offered at these terminals.

The Ohio Lottery Commission would regulate sports betting and tax receipts at 10 per cent with net proceeds going towards state education and gambling addiction programs. Most of Ohio’s neighbours, including Illinois, Michigan, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, have already introduced sports betting.
The bill will now move to the Senate.

Rep. Dave Greenspan said: “We’re moving it now to start negotiations with the Senate over the summer so when we come back early in the fall, we’ll be able to get a bill on the governor’s desk by the end of the year.”

Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati), the bill’s joint sponsor, said: “We will create a legal, closely monitored industry and a pathway to increased funding for education in this state.”

Representative Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) said: “While I oppose increasing gambling in Ohio, this bill will protect Ohioans while partaking in sports betting. If we do not pass this bill, an outside special interest certainly would have come into Ohio to put something on the ballot, and the proposal would not have protections for Ohioans. We must take action to reform ballot initiatives to prevent outside special interests from taking advantage of the system.”

But in the Senate, President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said his chamber wants to place the Casino Control Commission in charge of the new sector.

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

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