Amendments added to Ohio sports betting bill

  • Ohio sports betting bill, House Bill 194 was passed to move forward in the House on Wednesday.
  • This is the first time that Ohio has seen some real progress in its quest to legalize sports betting in the state.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A year after being introduced to the Ohio Legislature, House Bill 194 that would make sports betting legal in the state has moved forward on Wednesday after passing in the House Finance Committee.

LegalSportsBetting spoke with the bill’s sponsor Representative Dave Greenspan last month to discuss the future of OH HB 194.

Wednesday marked the ninth hearing that the bill has had and it went favorably, as Greenspan thought it would.

“We’ve had eight hearings and a number of amendments to the bill and the Senate has had two hearings and no amendments made to their bill so I believe our bill is further along in acceptance and its overall support,” said Greenspan to LegalSportsBetting.

The Hearing

Greenspan was in attendance to present his bill, OH HB 194 to the Committee.

Two amendments were made to the bill during the hearing, one of which the state lottery commission could provide the proper gaming equipment to veterans of fraternal organizations through a vendor selected by the commission.

These amendments were further clarifications of what’s already been stated within the bill.

Another amendment was discussed to bring self-service lottery terminals into small businesses, carry-outs, and bars.

This amendment would require the lottery commission to make these terminals available within these types of establishments (where they have liquor licenses). It would require the lottery to provide 1250 terminals throughout the state within 90 days of enacting OH HB 194 into law.

Another 1250 machines would then be needed within 180 days.

The reason this amendment was brought about was because of the loss of business due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

This would not be part of sports betting but a minor inclusion in the bill because it is within the scope of gaming. The amendment was adopted by the Committee after a majority vote.

Opposition came from David Corey, Executive Vice President for the Bowling Centers Association of Ohio.

Corey stated that they wanted to be included in gaming expansion and they have not yet been included in gambling ventures other businesses can offer. Outside businesses that offer gambling to their patrons and now possible sports betting will only threaten Ohio small businesses like that of bowling alleys more than ever by taking away their business.

He requested that the Ohio Legislature allow for legal sports betting to be done at bowling alleys in the state through lottery self-service kiosks.

“The bottom line for Ohio’s hospitality community is this, if not now and not sports betting then what and when will the Legislature authorize Ohio’s primarily family-owned small businesses to be able to participate in Ohio’s huge gambling pie,” said Corey. “The big boys don’t want us to ever have a piece of the pie, let alone the small piece that we are requesting in House Bill 194.”

In closing, Representative Greenspan moved for passage of House Bill 194 by the House Finance Committee and referral to the House Rules and Reference Committee.

After the vote, the bill received a favorable majority vote to move to the House Rules and Reference Committee.

Amendments made to the bill will be placed in the documents later in the day.

The amendment request by Corey was not adopted at this time. The session adjourns in December but it looks like legal sports betting in Ohio is finally making some moves in the Buckeye State.

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