Ohio bettors could have regulated sportsbooks by the start of 2023, according to Rep. Bill Seitz.
The legislator has revealed that he and other lawmakers are close to reaching an agreement on a bill to legalize sports betting in the jurisdiction.
Although Seitz did not delve into the details of the bill, he assured stakeholders that the measure would authorize a competitive market to ensure that everyone has their hands in the pie. He also said that the state legislature would push for a uniform launch, as opposed to some operators getting a head start.
‘’It was always my objective to do what we could to encourage greater competition among the actual sports books,’’ said Rep. Seitz.
‘’We want to be sure to give the Casino Control Commission adequate time to do all of the vetting that they are charged with doing under this bill, and we want to make sure also that everyone starts at the same starting point. We’re not going to have some people get to market quicker than other people, that’s not fair, we’re all going to start at the same starting point.’’
Despite facing numerous challenges in the past three years, Ohio sports betting seems to be making major headways at last.
Efforts to legalize the market started in 2019, but lack of consensus between the Ohio House and Senate has seen several bills die in the two chambers in the last two years due to inaction. The question of who would regulate the industry was the main point of contention, with the House backing the Lottery Commission to do the job while the Senate proposed the Casino Control Commission. The latter was eventually picked to license and oversee operators.
Other details that needed to be straightened out include those eligible to operate sportsbooks, the number of licenses available in the state, and how many online skins will be allowed for each licensee.
Legislators in the state have agreed on most of these issues, according to Rep. Seitz.
The lawmaker has also said that a conference committee comprising House and Senate members could vote on the bill as soon as next week, which would send it to the floors of the two chambers for final approval. Gov. Mike DeWine is also required to sign off on the measure before it becomes law.
The legislation is expected to pass before the end of the year, paving the way for the state to launch the industry in early 2022.
Although the finer details of the bill are yet to be disclosed, Rep. Seitz has spoken in favor of allowing statewide mobile sportsbooks, saying that a huge chunk of betting handle comes from online bettors.
‘’Why would you go to a corner convenience market to place a bet on a machine when you can place the same bet over the telephone?’’ asked the lawmaker.
In addition to online sportsbooks, the state is also expected to authorize retail sports betting at the four casinos in Toledo, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. There is a strong likelihood that racetracks with slot machines like Scioto Downs and Belterra Park in Cincinnati will be allowed to participate in the market as well.
Other eligible participants include stadiums and professional sports teams based in the state.
Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.
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