TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The latest proposal for legalizing sports betting in Ohio calls for bringing it to casinos, sports bars, mobile phones and maybe even pro sports stadiums.
After months of listening to ideas, Republican lawmakers in the state Senate rolled out a plan Thursday that would allow 40 sporting betting licenses around Ohio.
Half of those would be for locations that include the state’s casinos and horse racing tracks called racinos, which also could could hire outside companies to run sports betting online via mobile apps.
The other 20 licenses would be for sports bars and similar locations where fans could watch games and make proposition bets during the games.
Ohio’s pro sports teams are among those that could apply for the type of licenses that allow in-game proposition bets, said state Sen. Kurt Schuring, a Canton Republican.
“We think it’s going to be an economic development tool for Ohio,” he said.
Ohio lawmakers have been going back-and-forth on legalized sports betting for more than two years. It has caught on quickly in other states after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2018 allowed for it to be legalized in every state
Neighboring Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana already offer sports betting at casinos.
Backers of the newest proposal hope the Ohio Legislature will approve it by the end of June.
Each three-year license would cost $1 million, Schuring said, although that could change once state lawmakers begin ironing out the details.
It’s not clear year yet how much money the proposal, which includes a 10% tax, will bring to the state, Schuring said. The money would go mainly toward public and private education along with gambling treatment and prevention programs.
“This is not about revenue generation,” he said.
Illegal sports gambling already is happening in Ohio and “all we want to do is put guardrails around it to make sure its done correctly,” Schuring said.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission would oversee sports betting regulations under the proposal.
The legislation also calls for allowing electronic bingo at the state’s veteran’s and fraternal organizations.