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Ohio's sports betting bill undergoes a number of controversial changes

Ohio Senate, John Eklund, is looking for re-approval of new sports betting bill draft after decreasing the number of licence permits each provider is eligible for

Should sports betting be legalised within the state of Ohio, it may not be as much of a profitable and robust market as one may expect since the draft bill reduced a number of licenses.
The recent draft of HB 194 retracts several of OH sports betting licenses to just two per casino and racino operator within the sate. This is down from the original number of three, outlined within the previous version last September.

This change does not come as a surprise. Sen. John Eklund, one of the bill’s sponsors, told LSR he considered a lot of the major details in the previous draft as just proposals rather download-1than definite laws. The original bill was passed by the House in May but would need to be re-approved due to all the changes.
During September, Eklund outlined that the initial draft proposal focused on a conversation with a few members.

He wouldn’t commit to any details until all stakeholders had their say:

“They’re all subject to conversation with other senators, state reps and other interested parties,” Eklund said. “I commit to all of them that their input will be sought and considered, and I think that’s important for all parties that are interested in this to know.  To one degree or another, all of those things are placeholders.” The legislature has a deadline till the end of the year regarding whether to pass or withdraw the newly proposed sports betting law.

Changes to the sports betting bill


The most significant amendment to the Ohio sports betting bill was noticeably the number of licence permits each gaming provider is eligible for.

The introduction of two skins per casino/racino ultimately means that the whole market will be capped off at 22 operators instead of 33. Meanwhile, one of the unchanged proposals from the original draft is that the Control Commission for casinos still remains the planned regulator, instead of the Lottery Commission.

Casinos and racinos will not be enforced to hand out all of their sports betting licenses. The previous draft aforementioned that those gaming operators “shall contract” but the new draft says “may contract.”

Management service providers are still required to pay $10,000 for a license. Instead of $1,000  for a yearly renewal, those providers will pay $10,000 every three years to renew the license.

Operators can no longer subtract the 0.25% federal excise tax paid on all wagers from their total gross receipts. There’s a renewed movement to get that tax abolished at the federal level.

Former offshore employees now have a chance to work in the market. The previous draft outlawed anyone that worked with offshore operators in the past. Instead, those that accepted illegal bets from the US from April 16, 2015 forward will not be allowed to work in the market.


Meanwhile the few regulations that remained unchanged in the bill are:

  1. 8% tax rate
  2. $100,000 fee for a five-year licence for casinos and racinos
  3. No official league data mandate

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