Ohio Committee to Debate State's Gambling Future, Including iGaming Prospects

Quick Intro

Ohio is gearing up for in-depth discussions on the future of its gambling market, including the potential expansion to online casinos and an online lottery. The Ohio Sports Gaming Study Committee, expanded from the Joint Committee on Sports Gaming following the legalization of sports betting, will convene for four meetings over February and March to explore various gambling-related topics and provide recommendations to the General Assembly.

Each meeting will focus on a different aspect of the gambling industry:

  • Feb. 20: iGaming
  • Feb. 22: iLottery
  • March 19: Racinos and charitable gambling
  • March 20: Sports betting and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)

The expanded Study Commission, now comprising 11 members, will examine the current status and future of Ohio’s lottery, sports betting, casino gaming, and horse racing. Representatives Jay Edwards and Sen. Nathan Manning co-chair the committee.

Ohio’s Cautious Approach Towards iGaming Legislation

While iGaming is a key topic for discussion, Ohio isn’t expected to introduce an online casino bill in 2024. According to Rep. Edwards, the current legislative session won’t see a bill filing, as the focus is on initiating discussions and educating committee members. This approach aligns with typical patterns in other states, where initial legislation efforts often serve to start conversations rather than immediate action.

Edwards notes that, given Ohio’s current financial stability, there’s no pressing need for the additional revenue that online casinos could generate. Therefore, 2025, aligning with Ohio’s budget cycle, may be a more suitable time for introducing iGaming legislation. Edwards believes it’s not a question of “if” but “when” online casinos will come to Ohio.

Prospects of an iLottery in Ohio

Following iGaming, the committee will consider the potential for an online lottery. The growing frequency of billion-dollar jackpots has prompted many states to adopt online lottery options for increased revenue. Currently, eight states have full-featured online lotteries, and seven others offer online draw tickets.

With Ohio being a major player in lottery revenue, generating over $4.4 billion in ticket sales and $1.3 billion from Video Lottery Terminals in 2023, introducing an iLottery could further boost sales, particularly among younger demographics. Although some states have experienced pushback from small business owners, evidence from Michigan and Pennsylvania suggests that retail sales may not be adversely affected.

Examining DFS and Sports Betting Regulations

The committee will also delve into sports betting and DFS regulations. Ohio’s recent experience with legal sports betting, including tax rate adjustments and proactive regulatory measures by the OCCC, will inform these discussions. The committee will address the ongoing debate over props-style DFS bets, which have been a contentious issue in several states. Ohio’s March 20 meeting could provide clarity on the state’s stance on these bets.

Final Thoughts

Ohio’s comprehensive approach to evaluating its gambling market, from iGaming to DFS, reflects a strategic and informed effort to shape the state’s gambling future. The discussions led by the Ohio Sports Gaming Study Committee could pave the way for significant developments in Ohio’s gambling landscape in the coming years.

Source: https://www.ohiolottery.com/SupportingEducation/Funding-Education/Revenues/?aliaspath=%2fAbout%2fIndex%2fFinancial%2fFinancial-Data%2fRevenues