Two Ohio sports betting bills will be merged in 2020.

  • Ohio state Sen. John Eklund and Ohio state House Rep. Dave Greenspan are coming together to combine their bills into one heading into 2020.
  • The issues of where sports betting in Ohio will take place and which agency will be in charge of regulating the activity are still in question.
  • People in other states have been betting on the Ohio State Buckeyes, despite the school advocating against collegiate sports betting in Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio is one of several states with a chance to sign sports betting into law before the end of 2019. However, with distinct differences among key lawmakers in the House and Senate, it likely won’t be until 2020 before sports bettors in Ohio can put money down on their favorite teams.

Those differences are being worked out now. Ohio State House Rep. David Greenspan and Ohio State Sen. John Eklund are the primary sponsors for a sports betting bill in each of their legislative chambers.

Eklund’s bill, OH SB 111, would legalize sports betting at the state’s casinos and would put the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) in charge of regulating the industry.

Greenspan’s bill, OH HB 194, would allow casinos to open sportsbooks and would legalize sports wagering kiosks at Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and fraternal organization halls. Greenspan’s legislation would also put the Ohio Lottery Commission in charge of regulating the activity.

In an interview with Sports Handle, Eklund revealed that the two are working together in order to create one comprehensive bill to pass through the legislature. That piece of legislation still needs to be completed.

“The heavy lifting in terms of educating members, gathering info, caucusing, I think in my opinion, we’re coming to the end of that line. Does that mean we’re going to vote a bill out of senate next week and out of the house and boom, boom, boom by Christmas? I wouldn’t say that,” said Eklund.

How Do Other Lawmakers Feel About Ohio Sports Betting?

Earlier this year, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine told legislators he preferred to have the OCCC in charge of regulating sports betting in Ohio. The reason mainly stems from the fact that the OCCC strictly regulates gaming and does not offer it.

Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof is also on the side of the governor when it comes to this particular issue. Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and Ohio State Sen. William Coley are on the side of Greenspan in putting the Ohio Lottery in charge of sports betting.

Coley is also the president of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, which gives a bit of credibility to his opinion on the matter.

What Do Potential Stakeholders Want?

Since May, there have been eight total hearings conducted for Greenspan’s bill in the state House. Industry stakeholders made their usual pitch to legislators who are considering legalizing sports betting.

Casino operators such as JACK Entertainment want to be able to open sportsbooks, partner with mobile sports wagering companies, and do not want to be mandated to use official league data.

Sports leagues such as the NBA, MLB, and PGA TOUR want a requirement for operators to use their official data and want a royalty paid to them for any bets made on their league.

While these may not be shocking testimonies, what may be surprising is that universities in Ohio are advocating for a ban on collegiate sports betting in the state. Those universities include the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Miami RedHawks, both of which are playing in conference championships on Saturday.

Those betting on college football this season have put plenty of action on the Buckeyes to reach the College Football Playoff Championship. The Buckeyes are the number one ranked team in the nation and are heavy favorites to win the Big-10 Championship.

If Ohio legislators choose to prevent in-state sports bettors from putting money down on the Buckeyes, the state could miss out on millions in potential tax revenue. This will be another sticking point that Greenspan, Eklund, and others will have to figure out in 2020.

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