Alabama Casino Bill Dies – Ohio Ponders Sports Betting
Ohio is the next state to consider the legalization of sports betting. A bill being considered in the Senate will legalize both live and online sports betting, issuing 40 licenses throughout the state. Meanwhile, a bill to legalize casino gambling, a state lottery, and sports betting has died in Alabama. The bill was pulled from consideration in the House just prior to the end of the 2021 legislative session.
Ohio Lawmakers to Consider Sports Betting
Ohio is the latest US state to consider sports betting legalization. According to various reports, the Ohio Senate is now considering a proposal that will legalize both live and online sports betting in the state. Under the proposal, the state would issue up to 40 licenses between live and online retailers.
Half of the licenses will go to the racinos and casinos in the state for online sports betting. Those licensees could then partner with online sportsbook operators to offer mobile betting. The rest of the licenses will go to brick-and-mortar establishments to include casinos, racinos, sports bars, etc.
Similar to proposals in Georgia and Arizona, professional sports teams in the state can also apply for sports betting licenses. This means that the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians could start offering sports betting services, including in-game betting.
This bill comes a few weeks after Governor Mike DeWine called sports betting “inevitable.” If passed, licensees will pay $1 million for a three-year license. The Ohio Casino Control Commission will regulate sports betting and sportsbooks. The tax rate will be 10% of net gaming revenues.
Alabama Gambling Bill Dies
Alabama citizens will have to continue waiting for casino gambling and sports betting. A bill that would have legalized casinos, a state lottery, and sports betting has died in the House. SB 319 passed in the Alabama Senate after a reconsideration vote. It appeared at one point that the bill would also pass in the House, but that bill has been pulled from consideration.
According to House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, he pulled the bill from consideration because it didn’t have the votes necessary to pass. Since a constitutional amendment was necessary for the bill, it needed a 60% majority in the House rather than a simple majority.
The sticking point on the bill was over the ways that tax revenues will be used. Democrats wanted to use some of the proceeds to fund Medicaid expansion. Parties could not come to an agreement on the language of the bill modifications, and this effectively killed the bill.
The 2021 legislative session has now concluded in Alabama, meaning that the state will have to wait until next year to try again. It is likely that lawmakers will try again, especially considering that SB 319 had the endorsement of Governor Kay Ivey.
Nebraska Adds In-State College Betting Ban to Bill
Nebraska is another state that’s coming down to the wire for its attempt to legalize sports betting. LB 561 is looking to add casino-style games to the state-operated horse racing tracks. As part of this bill, sports betting has been added.
Recently, lawmakers added an amendment to the bill to help its chances of passing. Under the new amendment, betting on in-state college sports teams is prohibited. That means that citizens cannot place bets on the Nebraska Cornhuskers or any other college team in the state. This is similar to the ban on in-state college sports betting in New Jersey.
This amendment was done to alleviate concerns from some over potential match-fixing that’s often associated with betting on collegiate sports. It is much more likely that some lawmakers will vote this bill through. The first reading of the bill passed 37-5. Since then, the bill has been pulled multiple times prior to a final vote.
Lawmakers have until June 10th to push this bill through.