Sports betting is slowly coming to fruition in Ohio.

On Thursday, the state took a step towards enacting a legal sports wagering bill. Governor Mike DeWine previously stated that he expects sports betting to be legalized in 2021, but his statement now has added depth.

On Thursday, Senator Kirk Schuring announced his new sports betting bill in a news conference broadcast to the entire state. Schuring planned this news conference, and there were previous details of the bill that were revealed. However, the critical information in the plan is now known by the public.

The Details of the Bill

Senator Schuring does not expect his bill to pass without discussions. He made it clear that this is a starting point for a necessary piece of legislation. The bill features 40 sports betting licenses that are priced at one million dollars, respectively.

These would not all be mobile betting skins. The licenses would potentially be granted to businesses, casinos, and professional sports teams. Senate Bill 176 would separate 20 of the permits for major corporations. This includes 11 of the state’s casinos and racinos. All 20 of the significant licenses would be able to partner with online betting platforms.

Therefore, the state could offer 20 mobile betting skins, which is much larger than the online landscape in other legal areas of America. The additional 20 authorizations without online skins would be designated as Type B licenses.

These would be for in-person sports wagering. The Type B licenses would be given to businesses like sports betting. If a Type B business owner wants a mobile betting skin, they would need to claim two licenses. However, there is a flaw in this plan for a couple of reasons.

The Flaws in the Initial Plan

Senator Schuring has confirmed that there will be changes to the bill. The license differences could be one thing that needs to be changed. The main licenses include online sports wagering. The skins would be available throughout the state, so sports bars would probably lose money buying licenses.

In legal betting states with mobile and online wagering, there is one typical trajectory. Online betting always prevails, and it’s not very close. People may want to watch the game at sports bars, but they still gamble on their phones.

Also, Ohio’s professional sports teams would not be guaranteed a license. They would have to go through the licensure process, which did not make the franchises very happy. If a landlocked sportsbook is going to prevail, it will need a following.

Professional sports teams have a better chance of making a landlocked book work compared to sports bars. The Ohio Professional Sports Coalition responded to the press conference with a statement that said,

“Our coalition members produce the games that make sports betting possible, and it’s important that our businesses have fair market access to mobile and physical sports betting applications included in the Senate bill. There is no sports betting without sports.”

The first step was taken on Thursday, but the road to sports betting is not close to being completed. The Ohio legislature will now negotiate the bill, and changes will be made. The Ohio legislative session runs through the end of the year, so there is time to pass a bill.

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