US Gambling Legislation Updates: Ohio, Louisiana, and Illinois

  • Ohio has amended a betting bill to permit casinos and racinos to apply for retail licenses
  • Louisiana legislation setting fees for sports betting operators has received House approval
  • Illinois senators have filed a bill calling for estimates of potential online casino revenue
Man holding Ohio State Laws book
Ohio is among three states to have seen action in regards to gambling legislation this week, a group which includes Louisiana and Illinois. [Image:]

Legislation in various stages

Efforts to pass gambling legislation in three states, including Ohio, Louisiana, and Illinois, saw action this week.

allowing casinos and racinos to apply for Ohio’s Class B retail licenses

Ohio’s new sports betting legislation, SB 176, received its first hearing on Wednesday and has already seen multiple changes. Sen. Nathan Manning confirmed amendments to the proposal, with one allowing casinos and racinos to apply for Ohio’s Class B retail licenses.

Louisiana has taken a significant step toward the introduction of sports betting after the House approved HB 697 on Wednesday. The legislation sets out the tax rates, licensing fees, and other requirements for wagering in the state.

Meanwhile, Illinois senators have called for a report into potential online casino revenue as they mull the introduction of the vertical. Senate Resolution 285, filed this week, requests information on projected privilege tax revenue.

Ohio betting bill gets a new look

After a long period of hearings and debate, Ohio lawmakers finally revealed the details of their sports betting legislation last week. SB 176 offers a total of 40 licenses, including 20 Class A mobile permits and 20 Class B licenses for retail sportsbooks.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Sen. Nathan Manning laid out multiple changes to that legislation. In addition to allowing casinos and racinos to apply for Class B licenses, the changes would also permit Class A licensees to sub-contract with an unlimited number of mobile operators. The licensee must “bank the bet,” however, in the words of bill proponent Senator Kirk Schuring.

To “bank the bet” means the operator must have the resources in place to accept the risk for a wager, regardless of which mobile platform it comes through.

If eventually passed, SB 176 will allow Ohio’s 11 casinos and racinos to apply for both kinds of licenses. Meanwhile, professional sports organizations and other retail locations can apply for Class B permits to open land-based sportsbooks. A license will cost $1m for three years.

Taxes and fees approved in Louisiana

Louisiana House Bill 697, filed by Rep. John Stefanski earlier this year, sets out a taxing and licensing fee framework for the state’s sports betting market. After its first approval Wednesday, the bill will go forward for a second reading.

a $250,000 application fee for operating licenses

Under the legislation, land-based casinos will pay a tax of 10% on all retail betting, while online wagering will face a higher rate of 18%. The House approved a $250,000 application fee for operating licenses, in addition to a $500,000 cost after approval. Sports betting platform providers will pay $350,000 in total in their own licensing process.

Notably, the bill also allows the Louisiana Lottery Corporation to enter the sports betting market. The organization must partner with a platform provider, and then pay 30% of net gaming proceeds toward platform fees and other “expenses and costs deemed necessary to administer sports wagering.”

Illinois senators want iGaming estimates

With the state’s sports betting industry generating such success, Illinois lawmakers have toyed with the idea of introducing online casinos since the beginning of the year. Rep. Bob Rita filed HB 1342 in February aiming to establish such a market. The legislation calls for a tax rate of 12% on gross gaming revenue and a licensing fee of $500,000.

Now, the state’s senators have filed a bill seeking revenue estimates for online casino gaming had the state introduced it in February 2020. Senate Resolution 285 calls for projected state revenue from tax rates of 12%, 15%, 16%, and 20% for any adjusted gross revenue more than $25m.

Illinois lawmakers displayed strong support for iGaming’s legalization during a meeting of the House Executive Commitee last month, with many expressing hope for a speedy launch. Rita’s bill includes provisions which would allow for an accelerated rollout, including a measure permitting the Illinois Gaming Board to draft emergency rules within 90 days of legalization.

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