Ohio’s senate bill 176 has attracted attention for the past few months. If passed, the bill will legalize sports betting in the state. However, there is a provision about e-bingo in the bill.
This means that electronic instant bingo will be allowed in 875 gambling facilities in Ohio. But, this is something casino operators are against.
On Wednesday, June 16, 2021, the Ohio Senate voted 30-2 to legalize sports betting and e-bingo machines. A few hours after, Get Gaming Right announced their disagreement with the e-bingo provision. It claims it would reduce funding to schools in the state.
The organization’s spokesperson, Dan Williamson, said the organization believed the new legislation is terrible for Ohioans. He said that legalizing the bill would flood the state with almost 9000 under-regulated gambling machines. Dan added that introducing new machines would rob the state of millions of dollars that go to the school system.
Get gaming right intends to educate residents of the importance of regulated, limited, and responsible gambling. The statement released by the organization also indicates that Penn National Gaming and JACK Entertainment are supporting Get gaming right.
MGM Resorts International has previously sponsored get gaming rights. However, it was not mentioned in the released statement on Wednesday.
What Does It Mean If SB 176 Were to Pass?
Ohio has four casinos offering slot machines. It also has seven racinos offering video lottery terminals. Casinos are regulated by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, while racinos by the Ohio Lottery Commission.
With the legalization of SB 176, Ohio would allow various organizations to run up to ten e-bingo machines. The Get Gaming Right predicts there would be 876 eligible places in Ohio, each with a bingo machine.
What’s more, organizations running e-bingo machines would not be taxed. Also, e-bingo machines would be available to players 12 hours a day.
Casinos Have More Issues With the Bill
The senators amended sb 176 before sending it forward for voting. The new changes focus on professional sports teams over sports betting licenses. Thus, the amended bill provides 25 Type-A licenses, which means operators can partner with mobile gaming providers to offer mobile betting.
Another provision is 33 Type B licenses allowing retail sportsbooks in counties with a population higher than 100000. A county with over 500000 people can have two retail sportsbooks, while that with one million people can have three.
Yet, some casinos will still miss out. For example, Cuyahoga County has over one million people. Already, the county has a racino, a casino, and three professional sports teams.
If each sports team gets a retail sportsbook, then the casino and racino in the county cannot get a sportsbook. Yet, this might not be a problem, as indicated by Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, Indiana, and Illinois. These states have proved mobile sports wagering is better than betting in retail shops.
The casinos and racinos in the state might not even try to defend new changes. This is true, especially with Senator Niraj Antani’s comment on Thursday to the Associated Press.
The senator told the publisher that professional sports teams were businesses too. He added that these teams did not force their way through a constitutional amendment into Ohio. According to the senator, casinos are selfish and would be the only ones in the bill if they had means.
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