Ohio House Passes Retail and Mobile Sports Betting Bill

  • House Bill 194 was approved by an 83-10 vote
  • Operators will pay a 10% tax rate on sports betting revenues with funds going to education
  • Licensing application fees cost $100,000
Exterior of Ohio Stadium at Ohio State University
The Ohio House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill to legalize sports betting on Thursday by an 83-10 vote, sending the measure to the Senate. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Bill passed easily

The Ohio House of Representatives has passed a retail and mobile sports betting bill, advancing it to the state Senate. Lawmakers approved House Bill 194 on Thursday by a vote of 83-10.

measure was debated for over a year

The version approved by the House puts the state’s Lottery Commission in charge of regulating the new market.

The measure was debated for over a year before the vote took place, though the COVID-19 pandemic delayed progress.

Details of the sports betting bill

House Bill 194 requires operators to pay a 10% tax rate on sports betting revenues. Funds generated from taxes will go towards supporting education elementary, secondary vocational, and special education programs in Ohio.

A sports gaming agent license can only be obtained by a casino operator or sales agent of video lottery gaming. The application fee is $100,000, which is non-refundable. To renew a sports betting license, operators must pay another $100,000 or 1% of their gross sports betting receipts from the previous year, whichever is lower.

Mobile sports betting is open to more operators than is retail betting. Veterans and fraternal organizations can qualify to offer this service provided the mobile wagering is on-site and they partner with a state vendor that has been approved by the Lottery Commission.

Year-long discussions

The Ohio sports betting bill was first introduced in April 2019 by Representatives Dave Greenspan and Brigid Kelly. It is based on legislation that passed in 2018 in West Virginia.

In the beginning, the bill focused on allowing casinos and racinos to offer in-person wagering. Greenspan maintained flexibility to allow lawmakers to add to the legislation, such as permitting mobile and online wagering.