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Ohio Legislators Pass Sports Betting Bill

Ohio Passes Sports Betting Bill
By Caleb Tallman on December 17, 2021

Big news came out of Ohio last week, and it is to the delight sports fans all across The Buckeye State. HB 29 has officially passed as of Wednesday, December 8th, paving the way for legal retail and mobile sports betting.

It passed pretty quickly after a several-hour delay in the morning. Once the conference committee gathered, it only took about five minutes to report the bill favorably. Then it took less than ten minutes to have the conference report accepted on the senate floor.

The only thing left at that point was for Governor Mike DeWine to sign the bill. DeWine has been an outspoken supporter of the bill, so it’s highly doubtful there will be any holdup.

Who Will Receive an Ohio Mobile Betting Skin Under HB 29?

Part of what took the bill so long to get to this point has been the debate about mobile sports betting. The bill initially had each sports league and the teams getting one skin or platform. This was while other entities like racinos and casinos could have two.

The significant change now is each of those parties can get one with an opportunity to acquire a second. To do so, the license must prove that it will have an economic benefit to the state. In total, there is the possibility to have up to 25 mobile licensees with the proof that Ohio has the need for another online sportsbook.

HB 29 is 225 pages long, as there are so many pieces that have to go into a piece of legislation like this. For the sake of brevity, let’s hit the highlights of the notable changes other than the mobile license change.

  • Wagering will be allowed on Professional, amateur, Esports events, and college. The bill also has provisions for special events that could be bet on such as award shows.
  • Licenses for both the retail and mobile sides will last for five years instead of three.
  • There will be 25 Type-A licenses; they allow for mobile betting and can be acquired by companies that have a physical location within Ohio.
  • 40 Type-B licenses; these are retail licenses available to companies in Ohio. The licenses will be limited per county, and each county will get a certain number based on their population.
  • Type-C licenses are for partners within the lottery system and are strictly for small businesses wanting a kiosk.
  • There will be a $700 a week limit for those who bet at a lottery kiosk.
  • A lottery kiosk will be able to accept bets on over/under, spread, money lines, and take parlays between 2 and 4 games.
  • The tax revenue rate is set at 10%.
  • It is no longer required that there be official league data for live betting.
  • Official league data is required for any tier-2 bets or better known as prop bets.
  • The bill requires that sports betting in Ohio start no later than January 1st, 2023; although it can begin earlier, the official date will be set by a regulator.
  • An operator is not allowed to carry over a negative revenue related to tax purposes.
  • A provision on mobile betting on horse racing was removed, but mobile betting on Esports at the professional level was included.

Potential Tax Revenue Impact for Ohio

This bill is going to have a significant impact on Ohio financially; as we have seen with numerous surrounding states, the tax revenue from sports gambling can make a considerable economic impact. Currently, 30 states and Washington DC allow for sports gambling.

Since its legalization, Pennsylvania has gained over $42 million in revenue in just two years. While Michigan has only had legalized sports betting in the last year and has earned over $27 million in revenue. New Jersey has had a staggering $84 million in revenue to date.

Ohio has stated that the money gained in tax revenue from betting will be going towards education and veteran services. All in all, this was a carefully thought-out process but will be great for Ohio. Especially with a little over half of the country having passed similar bills, Ohio benefits from learning from other states' mistakes.

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