Ohio lawmakers differ on sports betting legislation

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Ohio lawmakers are debating over two competing versions of a sports betting plan.

The Senate version calls for the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) to regulate, while the House bill wants the Ohio Lottery to be the regulator.

Under the House plan, 10% of the profits would come back to the state while the Senate plan would have 6.75%. Two percent would be donated back to addiction treatment services.

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Estimated revenue could be between $30 and $60 million a year.

Eleven other states have already passed sports betting laws. Ohio would be the 12th state, but when that will happen is anyone's guess.

Not only do lawmakers differ on who should be in charge of overseeing the program, but there is also a much larger debate on what businesses should be allowed to have sports betting.

The Bowling Association argued Thursday that it makes no sense to leave them out since they already run Keno through the Ohio Lottery.

Other liquor permit holders also argued they should have the opportunity to have sports betting.

Both groups said if they would be left out, they would not support the legislation.

They also told lawmakers that casinos and racinos have already siphoned off their customers because they control gambling in the state.

Other see the bill as just bad legislation that will only grow more problem gamblers.

"Gambling addiction has the highest rate of suicides among all the addictions. This will be a sad legacy if this proposed legislation passes," said Mary Ann Bassit of StopPredatoryGambling.org.

Both of Ohio’s sports betting bills call for online wagering, which addressed unregulated offshore websites and apps. Under both bills, in order to receive money from Ohio betters, the companies must be licensed in the state.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has remained uncommitted to sports gambling as he is waiting to see what bill emerges from the legislature.

Many believe a final vote will happen later this year or early 2020.

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