Three years after the U.S. Supreme Court in Murphy v. NCAA authorized states to legislatively enact legalized sports betting, Ohio is still working to pass its version of sports betting legislation. In 2019, the Ohio Senate and House introduced competing bills to bring legal sports betting to Ohio. First, SB 111 proposed oversight of the program belong to the Ohio Casino Control Commission. Then, HB 194 proposed oversight belong to the Ohio Lottery. Ultimately, both initiatives failed.

According to a survey from the American Gaming Association, 23.2 million people in the U.S. wagered around $4.3 billion on this year’s Super Bowl. And a record 7.6 million people will bet using an online sportsbook. Currently, sports betting is legal in the following states:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

The economic impact of sports betting is undeniable. For example, in January 2021, Colorado reported a monthly record of $326.9 million wagered. As part of the effort to make certain sports betting legislation makes it to Ohio (and passes), the state launched the Select Committee on Gaming. To date, no bill exists in Ohio, though one is expected in the coming weeks.

Once a bill is introduced, and ultimately passed, operators in Ohio can expect the tax rate on sports betting to be around 8%. This rate will make Ohio one of the lowest taxed markets in U.S. sports betting. Furthermore, the bill will likely include fees of $100,000 for a five-year license, which is considered a relatively low cost. The tax rate and license fee are designed to pull big names and attract competition between as many operators as possible. Finally, lawmakers are also looking at ways to structure the bill so that when it is approved, the regulations and rules will help the market grow as quickly as possible.

Crabbe, Brown & James works with clients to navigate Ohio’s administrative agencies and the many complex rules and regulations. Through our litigation and regulatory compliance teams, we represent gaming clients with licenses and operations in dozens of states. Currently, we are working with the OVFCC in its effort to legalize e-bingo in Ohio. To be sure, our legal team is uniquely positioned to advise and assist clients in this developing area of commerce.