COLUMBUS (WJW) – Legal sports betting will be in place by next year under a bill that passed the Ohio legislature Wednesday.
The Senate voted 31-1 and the House voted 72-12 to approve H.B. 29 after both chambers struck a deal in a conference committee Wednesday.
Governor Mike DeWine is expected to sign the bill into law.
The vote signals sports betting will become legal in the state after years of roadblocks and debate.
“This is going to benefit the state of Ohio economically,” said Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-District 29), who chairs the Senate’s Select Committee on Gaming. “In addition, we all know that sports gaming is going on right now as we speak illegally. We’re going to put the necessary regulatory guardrails around it to make sure it’s done correctly here in Ohio.”
The bill puts the Ohio Casino Control Commission in charge of regulating and licensing sports betting, which would be allowed on any professional, collegiate, Olympic, motor race or horse race event.
The state would implement a 10% tax.
During a series of Senate hearings in the spring, a variety of organizations testified about who should be granted licenses. Ohio’s universities opposed allowing betting on college athletics.
The bill issues at least 25 licenses for online mobile betting and 40 licenses for brick and mortar locations like casinos, racinos and pro sports venues.
Licenses will also be available for kiosks at bars, restaurants and bowling alleys with liquor licenses, as recommended by the State Lottery Commission.
The U.S. Supreme Court allowed for sports betting outside of Nevada in a 2018. Since then, many states including Pennsylvania, Indiana and Michigan have voted to legalize it in.
It will still be many months before betting is legal in Ohio. The legislation sets a deadline for January 1, 2023.
“We want to do it right. We want to make sure we have the right regulatory guardrails. We want to make sure there’s enough applicants out there who can take advantage of this new economic opportunity in the state of Ohio,” Schuring said.