Ohio House passes legislation to legalize sports gambling in the state

COLUMBUS — UPDATE @ 7 p.m. (May 28): The House passed House Bill 282, which legalizes sports betting. The legislation now goes to the Senate.


A controversial proposal to bring legalized sports gambling to Ohio is once again moving toward passage after a long period on the legislative back burner.

The House Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday with support from several Miami Valley state lawmakers.

Among them is Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek. He sees the proposal as a way to bring in new revenue to the state without raising taxes.

“It’s not going out there and finding a way to make money. It’s sitting right in front of us. It’s happening, so we might as well make a little bit of money off of it and help the schools and all of these other people taking big budget cuts,” Perales said.

When the COVID-19 crisis hit and Gov. Mike DeWine shut down the Ohio’s economy for two months, state tax revenues fell dramatically. DeWine ordered budget cuts across the board for all state agencies and organizations receiving state aid, including schools.

Legalized sports betting has already been approved in several bordering states, including Indiana where it raises about $1 million a month on average in tax revenue.

One of the co-sponsors of the bill, Rep. Brigid Kelly, D-Cincinnati, said the timing of the proposal is right because it will help the state and local communities deal with the economic fallout from the health emergency. “We thought this was a good opportunity to provide additional resources for education which is something more necessary now more than ever,” Kelly said.

Passage in the House Finance Committee sets the stage for a vote in the full House. If it passes there it will go to the State Senate, which has been studying a Senate bill on sports betting.