Ohio sports betting is currently in a standstill due to lack of consensus among lawmakers on whom should regulate the market in the precinct.
The state’s Senate, through Senate Bill 111, is of the opinion that the Casino Control Commission (CCC) should oversee legal sports wagering in the jurisdiction. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has also backed the proposal.
On the other hand, the members of the House, led by Rep. Dave Greenspan, argue that the CCC is not a viable option under the Ohio Constitution, and they are backing the Lottery Commission to do the job.
Commenting on the issue, Greenspan said he was positive that the House holds the correct position. The legislator also added that the chamber would continue to promote its opinion through House Bill 194, and he was confident that the Governor would adopt the provisions of the legislation.
Why not the Casino Control Commission?
The House argues that the Casino Control Commission cannot be in charge of sports betting because it is not a casino game.
This opinion has been supported by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, a non-partisan group that provides the state’s General Assembly with research and other services.
The Commission issued a statement that backs the House opinion on July 3, affirming that the CCC does not qualify to oversee sports betting under the current constitution.
The law of the jurisdiction says that sports gambling can only be considered a casino game if one of the neighboring states classifies the market as such. Ohio shares borders with West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.
At the moment, none of the neighboring states considers sports betting as a casino game, and this means that the precinct would have to amend its constitution via a vote at the ballot if it wishes to offer sports betting through the Casino Commission.
According to Rep. Greenspan, who is the sponsor of HB194, the Lottery Commission is the best option since it is exempt from the state’s gambling laws.
Senate bill poses a threat to mobile wagering
Ohio legislators are pushing for a regulated sports gambling market where bettors can place wagers on sporting events at retail sportsbooks and via mobile.
However, mobile wagering might face difficulties if the state passes the Senate bill, S 111.
Under the legislation, it would be challenging to expand sports betting outside of the four state casinos since the mandate of the Casino Commission is limited to operations within these locations.
As such, there would be no opportunity for online wagering in the precinct.
What next for Ohio sports betting?
Ohio sports betting appears to be in a stalemate at the moment, but all is not lost. There is a chance that the policymakers will reach an agreement before the end of the year.
The state’s legislature is currently on recess, and they will be resuming the regular legislative session in the first week of September.
The session will run until December, which gives the legislators ample time to discuss the issue of regulation and arrive at a favorable decision.
Some lawmakers are even exploring the possibility of creating another regulatory body to oversee sports betting.