Ohio Sports Betting Bill Offers Unique Vision For Industry

  • Ohio’s sports betting legalization bill has a unique setup.
  • It splits the industry between the Casino Control Commission and the Ohio Lottery.
  • This compromise could help it get passed in the 2021 Legislative Session.

LAS VEGAS - Ohio’s preliminary sports betting legalization bill has a unique vision for a state-regulated gambing industry.

Currently, most states with online sports betting are regulated through various commissions and lottery regulators. Ohio’s bill would split control of the gambling industry between private casinos and the state-run lottery. The bill would place up to 20 retail and 20 online sportsbooks under the control of the Casino Control Commission.

However, it would also make the Ohio Lottery the sole purveyor of $20 betting pools that operate like traditional lottery games. Basically, the bill is a compromise to make sure both the Ohio Lottery and the Casino Control Commission get a piece of the pie.

The bill was introduced in early May, and is expected to pass the House, where a similar bill passed easily in 2020. That bill died in the Senate, where it was opposed by those who supported giving the Lottery control over the industry.

The idea behind this bill is that the compromises reached between the Lottery and the Casino Control Commission could help get it through the Senate.

Kirk Schuring, one of the senators who introduced the bill, praised the potential for oversight that both agencies brought to the table.

“Gaming is already here but not legally,” said Senator Schuring. “My priority is to make sure this bill focuses on broad based economic development, that provides no special privileges for any gaming business or organization." Schuring continued: "This is free market driven, and comes with oversight from existing Ohio agencies with gaming experience to make sure Ohioans are not being taken advantage of by illegal gaming.”