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Ohio to Consider Sports Betting Bill

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Ohio could be the latest state in the US to introduce regulated sports betting after a new bill was proposed by state senators late last week.

SB111, which was introduced by senators Sean O’Brien and John Eklund, would effectively legalise both online and land-based sports betting by allowing the eleven casinos in Ohio to provide sports betting opportunities to their customers. The first sports betting bill to be brought before the Ohio Senate this legislative session also provides for regulations that would permit online betting.

Under the terms of the bill, any casino venue that wanted to apply to offers sports betting would be required to come up with a $100,000 licence fee, and if approved, would then have permission to set up partnerships with betting operators to provide the service.

The tax rate for any casinos and racinos that were granted a licence would be 6.25% of their gross sports betting revenue, although there is no mention in the bill of the much-debated ‘integrity fee’ concept favoured by some professional sports leagues, which would see sports betting providers pay a substantial sum to the leagues for the right to use their data.

Until the emergence of SB111, Ohio had been one of the few states in the northwest not to debate the introduction of sports betting since the Supreme Court struck down the 1992 PASPA Act last year. Neighbouring Pennsylvania was one of the first to set up a regulated sports betting market, along with West Virginia. It has also been reported that Kentucky, which lies on the southern border of Ohio, is considering sports wagering regulation, and the Indiana Senate also recently began debating a legalisation bill. Sports betting is also legal in New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, Mississippi and New Mexico, and will soon begin in New York and Arkansas.

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