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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Ohio Senate Overwhelmingly Approves Sports Gambling Bill

A view of the interior of the JACK Cleveland casino [Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau]
A view of the interior of the JACK Cleveland casino

The Ohio Senate this week overwhelmingly approved a bill that would legalize sports gambling statewide, with oversight by the Casino Control Commission. The bill now goes to the House for consideration, where members want the Ohio Lottery to control sports betting.

The bill passed the Senate 30-2. One senator abstained: Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), who has a partial ownership stake in the Cleveland Indians.

Senate Bill 176 would create up to 25 Type A licenses for casinos and racinos, which can partner with mobile apps, and up to 33 Type B licenses for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in counties with more than 100,000 residents, which would cost $1 million each.

Joint sponsor Sen. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) said the measure also would include an unlimited number of Type C licenses for kiosks at liquor permit-holding establishments to take bets of up to $200 per day.

“If you’re at a sports bar and for whatever reason you don’t want to download the app, you’re a casual bettor, you can still go to the kiosk and place a bet," Manning said.

Type C licenses would cost $6,000 each and would be limited to two kiosks per establishment. The Ohio Casino Control Commission would determine the kiosk vendors, and each vendor would pay a $100,000 application fee.

Revenue from sports gambling in Ohio would be taxed at 10 percent, and 98 percent of the estimated $17 million to 23 million it would bring in would go to K-12 education. The remaining 2 percent of tax revenue would go to programs that fight gambling addiction.

Under the bill, betting on professional and college sports would be allowed in Ohio and the Casino Control Commission would provide discretion for events with athletes under 18.

Sports gambling has been under consideration in Ohio since the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing states to legalize it and set up their own rules and regulations. But there are questions about whether lawmakers can expand gambling without violating the Ohio Constitution.

Local communities have pushed for the Ohio Lottery to oversee sports gambling, which the House also supported in a bill passed last year. Ohio's professional sports teams would prefer casinos to oversee sports betting.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.