The Ohio Senate committee has approved key changes that will expand sports betting in the state but delay the launch to April 2022. The original plan to launch was Jan 1. 2022.

On Tuesday, the Ohio Senate Select Committee on Gaming met for the seventh and last hearing to vote unanimously an omnibus amendment into SB 176 by a 7-0 vote. The sports betting bill then was sent to the Senate and Reference Committee, which is scheduled to meet Wednesday.

However, the salutary changes may drag the launch of the industry in the Buckeye State as the amendments call for the first Ohio sportsbook licenses to be awarded no sooner than April 1.

Why Amendments Delay Ohio Sports Betting Launch?

The original bill called for Ohio sports betting and electronic bingo operations could not launch until Jan. 1, 2022. Now the language is amended and says the application period for both open Jan. 1, with the licenses starting to be awarded no later than April 1, 2022.

Committee Chairman and state Senator Kirk Schuring said if the lawmakers get Ohio sports betting passed on June 30, or before, it would take effect around Oct. 1. “Obviously, you’re not going to hit the ground running,” as there are rules that need to be promulgated, and applications that have to be processed.

Schuring said “everybody we’ve talked to” wants an equal launch time, which is why the amendment carved out specific dates.

Expansion of Sports Betting

The original bill contained provisions for two types of licenses – Type A, for online platforms, and Type B, for retail locations. But the omnibus amendment has now added a third: Type C, which would allow for sports betting kiosks at the restaurants, bars, and nightclubs with liquor licenses.

Moreover, the number of Type A and Type B licenses were increased. Originally, 20 licenses were reserved for each. Now, Type A licenses have increased to 25, while there could be as many as 33 Type B licenses.

Other Changes

  • Following the changes, there will be now as many as 50 online sportsbooks in Ohio sports betting.
  • The Buckeye State’s eight professional sports teams, the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament, and the state’s NASCAR track will have a preference for retail and mobile licenses.
  • Ohio retail sportsbooks will now have strict location criteria.
  • The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) will pick now less than vendors to operate with no more than 20 Type C licenses.
  • No preference shall be given to any licensee based on that the applicant currently has a contract with the Ohio Lottery Commission or any other state agency. The host license must be a D liquor holder and will pay a $6000 license fee.
  • The OCCC will do all pre-regulation ad the state’s lottery will implement the program.
  • Kiosk bets will be limited to $200 a day.
  • A study commission will be formed to oversee increasing problem gaming fund, youth sports fund, and compulsive gaming.
  • E-bingo machines will increase to 10 from six (per facility).
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