Legislation introduced in the Ohio House would legalize sports gambling in casinos and racinos. The bill grants regulatory authority to the state Lottery Commission, which differs from the Senate’s gambling legalization plan, which would give that authority to the Casino Control Commission.
House Bill 194 would levy a 10 percent tax on sports gaming receipts. After operation costs, 98 percent of generated revenue would be used to fund education and two percent would go to the gambling addiction fund for efforts to alleviate sports gambling addiction.
Initially, the state is expected to generate about $30 million in revenue, one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Dave Greenspan, R-Westlake, said in a phone interview. After the courts rule on online and mobile sports betting, he said this could double to $60 million or even be as high as $100 million.
“At its core – this bill is intended to provide additional funding for public education in Ohio by making sports betting legal,” Greenspan said in a news release. “The format and structure of the bill provides clarity as to the authority overseeing sport betting in Ohio while providing flexibility to address opportunities and challenges facing this newly legalized industry.”
The legislation would also create an 11-member Sports Gambling Advisory Board to assist in regulation of sports gambling. It would also expand the Ohio Lottery Commission from nine members to 11 members and require that at least three members have knowledge and experience in sports gambling.
Rep. Brigid Kelly, D-Cincinnati, who is also sponsoring the legislation, could not be reached for comment.
Greenspan said that there is not a serious level of pushback against the legalization of sports gambling.
Despite little pushback on legalization, there may be pushback on who regulates it. The Senate’s version, Senate Bill 111, would give this control to the Casino Control Commission and one of its primary sponsors, Sen. John Eklund, R-Munson, has said this is a better fit.
“I cannot envision a single advantage that the Lottery Commission has in regulating sports gaming that the Casino Commission doesn’t have,” Eklund said, according to the Columbus Dispatch. “I think there is a palpable difference between the games that the Lottery Commission is responsible for now and something like sports gaming. I think sports gaming is on a significantly more sophisticated level.”
The push to legalize sports gambling comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year against the constitutionality of a law that prohibited sports gambling in most states and only permitted it in certain regions. After this ruling, a few states have legalized sports gambling and several other states have begun serious efforts to legalize it.