Ohio House of Representatives members met on Thursday last week to determine whether or not to legalize sports gambling within the state. Either way, residents are already involved in illegal gambling, as is the case in most states in the country. It would, therefore, be fit to legalize the act so that the state can generate tax revenues from the activity.
The current Covid-19 pandemic is bringing a lot of state economies down to their knees. As a result, most states are pushing for the legalization of sports gambling as a move to recover the lost revenues. Ohio State doesn’t want to be left behind in this rush for recovery, it’s no wonder why members of the House of Representatives passed House Bill 194 (HB 194) to send it to the Senate for approval.
HB 194 gained a 29-1 floor vote support by the House Finance Committee last week on Wednesday. On Thursday, the bill moved to the full Senate for backing where it got an 83-10 floor vote. At the Senate, the bill was strongly supported by Representative Brigid Kelly and Representative Dave Greenspan who sponsored the bill.
Giving a speech before the Senate voting, Brigid Kelly said that illegal gambling was going on and the state was not gaining any revenues from the multi-billion industry as gambling wasn’t legalized. On top of that, Ohio players were not protected in any way from gambling harms and fraud. Supporting the bill, she made it clear that the state would establish a centralized monitoring system that would ensure the integrity of bets, making it easier to identify any fraudulent activity.
According to Representative Dave Greenspan, imposing a 10% tax on sportsbooks would see the state gain approximately $15 million in revenue within the first year of legalization. Ohio Lottery Commission is to be responsible for establishing gambling regulations, while the Ohio Casino Control Commission is to be in charge of enforcing the regulations. Gambling facilities are also to be licensed with HB 140, allowing for online bookies to operate as well.