CLEVELAND — Ohio may soon be added to the growing list of states across the country to legalize sports gambling.
Neighboring states, such as Michigan, West Virginia and Pennsylvania have already generated tens of millions of dollars. All bets are on the table, or could be soon.
The Ohio House and Senate passed House Bill 29 Wednesday, sending it to Gov. Mike DeWine's desk. Earlier this year, the governor admitted sports betting would soon come to Ohio, for signing.
"This is something that's inevitable and is coming to Ohio," DeWine told reporters during a virtual press conference in March. Should he sign HB 29, the launch would come no later than Jan. 1, 2023.
So how much could Ohio really gain through regulated sports betting? Taking a look at the 30 states plus Washington, D.C., that have active, legal sports betting, it seems like the pockets run deep.
For example, LegalSportsBetting.com reports Pennsylvania — which launched legalized gambling in 2019 — generated over $42 million in revenue as of October 2021. In Michigan, a state that joined the wagering in 2020, that number was nearly $27 million.
And in New Jersey — one of the first states to embrace sports betting after the Supreme Court overturned a federal ban — a whopping $84 million has been generated.
"When online [betting] launches, that's when Ohio is going to make their money," Jersey resident Robert Linnehan, sports betting regulatory writer and editor for Big Ten publication Saturday Tradition, said. "About 90% of all of the revenue comes from online sports betting."
Under HB 29, Type B licenses would be for in-person sports gambling, while Type A licenses would cover online operations. Here in Ohio, there has been a push-and-pull for who should control it all: brick and mortar casinos or small businesses as well. The new legislation favors the state's four larger casinos like JACK Casino in downtown Cleveland, and Rob Walgate says that is in line with an amendment voters approved for the Ohio Constitution back in 2009.
"To do it anywhere else would need an [additional] amendment to the constitution," he told 3News
DeWine has 89 more days to sign the bill, which passed with veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. The measure's language also says Ohio will have a 10% tax on all gambling revenue, which will help fund education and veterans activities in the state.