A leader in the Ohio sports betting debate said Monday morning a deal has been reached.
“We have an agreement on sports gaming,” state Sen. Kirk Schuring, chairman of the Select Committee on Gaming, told News-Talk 1480 in Canton.
Schuring declined to offer the specifics of the deal but said he hopes to announce the details later this week.
“I expect the conference committee to meet this week, and for the conference report to be approved, and for it to go to the House and Senate floors this week,” he said.
The bill is now being worked on by the Legislative Service Commission.
Debate Over Control Of Sports Betting
Sports betting legislation in Ohio has been a long time coming. Schuring’s committee was formed this year with the singular goal of crafting legislation. Governor Mike DeWine has indicated he is on board.
The Senate passed legislation earlier this year, but the House has been a harder sell.
One of the key sticking points is who controls sports betting and who can take part. The Senate-passed version from earlier this year put the Ohio Casino Control Commission in charge. But small businesses like bars, restaurants, and convenience stores could get piece of the sports betting business if it were in the hands of the Ohio Lottery Commission, per a plan proposed by Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.
Schuring acknowledged the difficulty of getting the two sides to agree, without going into the specifics.
“They are so intensely competitive. It is like trying to negotiate an agreement with the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Michigan Wolverines, the Boston Red Sox, and the New York Yankees. They are just naturally competitive with each other and want a piece of this new market,” he said.
When Sports Betting Could Be Up And Running
Supporters have said as long as they get a bill signed in 2021, they are on target to have sports betting operational in Ohio by mid-2022.
If Schuring is correct on the conference committee’s timeline, and a bill does pass both chambers by Dec. 31, then the mid-2022 target should work.