Analysis

Ohio inches towards sports betting goal line

The regulation of sports betting in Ohio moved a step closer earlier this week as a key state Senate discussed the proposal for a third time.

The bill that will potentially unlock sports betting in Ohio went before a key state Senate committee on Wednesday.

The hearing heard written evidence from a number of operators in favor of the bill SB 111.

Among the companies representing their views were MGM and Penn National.

Meanwhile, Adam Suliman of Jack Entertainment appeared in person to speak about how sports-betting would be a “crucial amenity” for the company casino property in the state.

“Our customers tell me regularly that they are looking forward to a day in the near future when they can wager legally on their favorite sporting event,” he told the committee.

Following a path

The hope is that the bill, if passed, will include provisions for mobile betting, a low tax rate of 8% and no provisions with regard to official data.

An earlier revision of the bill said each licensee could have two skins available, not three.

Should the bill pass as written, it will mean the state’s gaming-friendliness tally as measured by the Wedge Index will rise substantially. It is currently tied in 19th.

The sticking points include the naming of the regulator with a split between the Senate, which favors the Casino Control Commission, and the choice of the national lottery by the House of Representatives.

In his written testimony, MGM Vice President of Government Affairs Rick Limardo said the bill was an attempt to follow the example of “other successful sports betting regimes already implemented across the country.”

Timing remains critical for Ohio. The bill needs to be passed during the current lame-duck session before the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Greenspan and Sen. O’Brien, vacate their seats after having lost in the recent elections.

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Scott Longley

Scott Longley has been a journalist since the early noughties covering personal finance, sport and the gambling industry. He has worked for a number of publications including Investor's Week, Bloomberg Money, Football First, EGR and GamblingCompliance.com. He now writes for online and print titles across a wide range of sectors.

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