The state of Ohio is looking to join the ever-growing sports betting industry, and they took the next step last week. The Ohio House of Representatives voted in favor of a sports betting bill, and it will now head to the Senate.
The Ohio House Finance Committee passed the bill through on Wednesday, meaning that it was up to a vote of all members of the House on Thursday. House members voted in favor of the bill by a whopping mark of 83-10.
The bill was introduced in 2019, and it has taken the House a long time to take some action on the issue. A big reason that action was finally taken was that the Ohio Senate was able to get a bill through earlier last month.
This bill will now head to the Senate for discussion, while a bill from the Senate will be heading to the House. While both bills seek to legalize sports betting throughout the Buckeye State, there are plenty of differences in the two bills.
The House bill would allow for mobile or online betting to take place throughout the state, which will help generate extra revenue. Casinos, racetracks, and some fraternal organizations will be allowed to apply for a license to offer sports betting.
The Ohio Lottery Commission would be the regulatory body of the sports betting industry in the House Bill that has been proposed. The Senate bill would put the Ohio Casino Control Commission in control of the industry, and this is shaping up to be a fierce debate over the next few weeks.
Governor Mike DeWine has expressed his support for the legalization of sports betting, and he will likely sign any bill that ends on his desk. DeWine does favor the Casino Control Commission overseeing the industry as opposed to the Lottery Commission.
The Senate has a few different options when it comes to the House Bill, and they could just vote on it right away. It is expected that the Senate will make some amendments to the bill before sending it back to the House. This will start a period of negotiations between the two chambers.
Both sides have expressed their desire to hold discussions over the next few weeks before they dismiss for their scheduled break. The hope would be to take a vote and pass one of the two bills in the early fall so that Governor DeWine can get the bill signed into law.
Governor DeWine wants a bill on his desk before the November elections so that the state can launch sports betting early in 2021. Ohio is surrounded by states with legalized sports betting, and residents are traveling out of state to spend their money.
Many lawmakers in Ohio hoped that sports betting would get legalized in 2019, but both bills were stuck in committee for an extended period. The coronavirus pandemic also delayed some discussions on the bills, but it appears sports betting is coming to Ohio.