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Ohio Governor Signs Bill Making Sports Betting Legal

Ohio Governor Signs Bill Making Sports Betting Legal

Gov. Mike DeWine signed Ohio’s first sports betting bill on Wednesday. It allows bettors across the state to place wagers on mobile devices at gaming facilities that have skins, bars, and restaurants.

Ohio Residents Will Wave to Wait a Few Months to Place a Sports Wager 

Sports betting is technically legal as the governor’s signature is on House Bill 29. The bill was also heavily sponsored by Representatives Scott Wiggam and Adam Miller; however, residents will most likely have to wait several months until the Ohio Casino Control Commission signals the green light.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission has the authority to set the rules and regulations for the market. This is needed for bettors to place wagers on professional, collegiate sports, and iGaming by no later than January 1, 2023. 

Senate Majority Leader Kirk Schuring believes once the gaming commission sets the rules, the sports betting operation will start in the state.

The process could take a long time as many believe the state could still face legal challenges despite having Gov. DeWine’s signature. After failing numerous times to approve the sports betting bills, the state House of Representatives and Senate agreed to a heavily amended HB29 that was once geared towards veterans IDs.

The bill will permit betting to take place in brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. This also allows bettors to bet through mobile devices at the locations. Wagering will be permitted by using kiosks in bars, restaurants, and other stores that have a liquor license.

“It will allow Ohio’s casinos, racinos, and Ohio’s 10 sports franchises to contract with an online mobile app provider, like FanDuel and DraftKings,” Schuring said. “It also will allow for (brick-and-mortar sportsbooks) that can contract with an online mobile app provider to do sports gaming within their facility.”

John Cranley, a Democrat running for governor, stated, “DeWine should order the Ohio Lottery Commission to immediately authorize sports betting. Just because the house always wins doesn’t mean public schools should always lose.” 

Under the bill, 98 percent of the money will fund and support K-12 education for both public and private education. Cranley believes the gaming proceeds should go towards education unless they are for the four casinos. The remaining two percent should be used for gambling education.

The Outlook for the Ohio Sports Betting Market 

Under the amended law, no sportsbook operator will be allowed to accept wagers unless given the green light. Ohio joins states like Florida and Nebraska, where sports betting is technically legal but not operational at this moment.

Ohio is home to approximately 11.75 million people and is the seventh most populous state in the country. According to an Ohio Legislative Service Commission estimate, Ohio’s sports betting market is expected to reach $3.35 billion after a few years of operation.

A ten percent tax would net at least $7 million during the first half of 2023 and $24 million for the first fiscal year of operation. Casinos, racinos, sports teams, and local bars will likely pay some application fees, which will likely exceed $10 million in the first few months.

Around 0.5 percent of the application fees will go to helping veterans and their families. There will be some pressure on Ohio’s legislators as sports betting is operational in 31 different states. 

In recent months, neighboring states like Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have benefited with record handles.

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