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Ohio Introduces 2019 Sports Betting Bill

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The Ohio House legislature has recently submitted a bill to allow domestic wagering just a year after its last introduced bill.

After a long wait and teasing of wagering in Ohio in 2018, Republican House Representative Dave Greenspan on April 9th, 2019 introduced House Bill 194 which seeks to authorize domestic wagering and amend several sections of the Revised Code. Submitted into the 133rd General Assembly by Rep. Greenspan and co-sponsor Representative Brigid Kelly, HB 194 would create a Sports Gaming Advisory Board, regulate domestic wagering activities, and impose taxes on domestic wagering.

The bill introduced to Ohio’s legislature consists of 135 pages of provisions. Under Ohio’s HB 194, the Ohio Lottery Commission would be the primary regulator for domestic wagering activities. The House Bill would also allow lottery sales agents, bars, and casinos to offer wagering opportunities; veterans organizations and fraternal clubs may offer wagering if they enter a contract with a sports gaming agent and can only provide wagering to members.

HB 194 also hands over significant authority to the Director of the Ohio Lottery Commission such as contract entering and licensing powers. However, the Director is also ordered to confer with the Commission monthly and must make all documentation and records available to the Commission upon request. The bill also stipulates that the Director will enter into agreements with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to provide treatment programs for gambling addiction with the Commission paying the cost of the program.

Under House Bill 194, a monitoring system will be used to identify abnormal irregularities in odds and volume, as well as, flag suspicious activity for further investigation. These systems will be implemented by the Ohio Lottery Commission as part of their minimum internal control standards.

Wagering options will include professional, collegiate, athletic sports events, motor races, special events, and lottery tickets with prizes based on exchange wagering, parlays, over-under, money line, pools, pari-mutuel sports wagering pools, and straight bets. Pari-mutuel betting on horse races do not count as a sports wagering event nor do daily fantasy sports contests.

Those applying for a sports gambling license in Ohio must submit a complete set of fingerprints and fill out a form for the Superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation to review. Criminal records check will be made for those applying for a license and the Commission may require additional criminal records checks from licensees renewing a sports gaming license.

Under HB 194, Ohio players interested in wagering must be at least 21 to participate in sports betting legally. The bill currently sits in the House Finance Committee for its 4th hearing awaiting May 30th.

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