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Ohio lawmakers introduce bill to legalize sports gambling in the state

The introduction of the bill comes after months of meetings with and presentations to the Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming.
Credit: AP Photo/Wayne Parry, File
FILE — In this Sept. 9, 2018 file photo, customers watch an NFL game in a sports betting lounge, in Atlantic City, N.J.

Nearly three years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a national ban on sports gambling, the Ohio Senate has introduced a bill that could make sports gaming legal in the Buckeye State sooner rather than later.

On Thursday, Ohio Senator Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) held a press conference introducing a new comprehensive gaming bill. The introduction of the bill comes after months of meetings with and presentations to the Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming, which was tasked with sculpting the state's sports betting bill.

Under the bill, the Ohio Casino Control Commission would have regulatory authority over sports gaming in the state. One of the biggest points of contentions that played a role in delaying the introduction of such legislation was whether the Ohio Casino Control Commission or Ohio Lottery Commission would be regulating the gaming.

According to Tyler Buchanan of the Ohio Capital Journal, the proposed bill would offer 20 sportsbook licenses to any facility that can "bank the bet," such as casinos and racinos, as well as  20 more licenses to brick and mortar locations, such as sports bars, across the state.

Additionally, Ohio's professional sports teams would have the ability to apply for licenses. Each three-year sports gaming license would cost $1 million, with the industry being assessed a 10 percent tax.

Sports gaming is currently legal in every state bordering Ohio, except for Kentucky. Earlier this year, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said that it was "inevitable" that sports gaming would become legal in the Buckeye State.

"Sports gaming's already in Ohio. Ohio's just not regulating it," DeWine said. "This is something that I think is inevitable. It's coming to Ohio.

"The members of the general assembly are working that process. I will have the opportunity to see what they came up with. I will have the opportunity to weigh in at the appropriate time. But sports gaming is certainly coming to Ohio."

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