Ohio House, Senate send sports betting bill to governor’s desk

After a three-year process, state lawmakers passed a bill legalizing sports betting in Ohio.

The Ohio House of Representatives and Senate voted to pass House Bill 29 Wednesday and now it heads to the governor’s desk for a signature.

If signed into law, the bill would allow casinos, stadiums, bars and restaurants to offer sports betting. People may even be able to use apps on their cellphones to bet.

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State Senator Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) told News Center 7′s Candace Price that people often ask him when Ohioans will be able to bet on sports. Now with the bill sent to Gov. Mike DeWine, he hopes the answer is soon.

“I am hopeful that [DeWine] will sign it,” Antani said.

With 30 states already allowing sports betting, Antani said Ohio is behind.

“Ohioans should be able to bet in Ohio. They shouldn’t have to go out of state to do it,” Antani said.

While Antani has been a major proponent for the bill, others, like Derek Longmeier, have raised concerns.

“We know that the more opportunities there are to gamble in Ohio, more Ohioans will gamble,” Longmeier, Executive Director of Problem Gambling Network of Ohio, said.

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Problem Gambling Network of Ohio has worked hard to make sure the H.B. 29 includes help for those with gambling addictions.

“There are certainly aspects of the bill that we are in favor of and worked really hard to include, such as the 2 percent set aside for sports gambling support services,” Longmeier said.

Once the bill passes, the state stands to make a lot of money, Antani said.

A 10% tax would be imposed on sports gambling revenue. Most of that money would go toward public and private K-12 education.

“We don’t know what the exact number will be but, I expect it to be tens of millions of dollars and 98 percent of that is going to education,” Antani said.

Just this year Ohio’s casinos and racinos broke a record. So far in 2021, they have brought in over $ 2 billion in gambling revenue.

DeWine has 90 days to sign the bill. If signed, sports betting could start taking place in Ohio no later than Jan. 1, 2023.