Ohio could soon become the next American state to legalize online and retail sportsbetting after legislators passed a measure late Wednesday night following over three years of indecision and debate.

According to a Thursday report from The Plain Dealer newspaper, House Bill 29 was ratified by the Ohio House of Representatives via a 72-to-23 margin before being moved onto the Ohio State Senate where it progressed courtesy of a 31-to-one vote. These approvals purportedly came after the mobile-friendly proposition was endorsed by a bicameral committee with it now just requiring the signature of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (pictured) to become the law of the land.

Compound categories:

Ohio State Senator Kirk Schuring was reportedly one of the lead negotiators in helping to get his often uncooperative colleagues to sanction the new sportsbetting legislation. The Republican legislator purportedly disclosed that House Bill 29 would set the minimum age to place a sports wager at 21 and create different classes of providers that run from online and casinos down to small restaurants and bars.

Licensing loophole:

First elected in 1993, Schuring is an experienced legislative campaigner and reportedly told the newspaper that the measure to bring sports wagering to ‘The Buckeye State’ would moreover link the number of licenses for which a county could apply to its overall population. As an example, the source disclosed that highly urbanized Cuyahoga County, which is home to the city of Cleveland, could potentially get as many as five although the more rural Medina County would be eligible for only one.

Schuring reportedly pronounced…

“We all know sports gaming is going on as we speak illegally. We’re putting the necessary regulatory provisions in place to make sure it’s done correctly in Ohio.”

Desired destination:

For his part and Bill Seitz from the Ohio House of Representatives reportedly divulged that House Bill 29 would look to establish a 10% net revenue tax on all sports wagers to annually bring in as much as $20 million. The Cincinnati Republican furthermore purportedly detailed that this could be added to as much as $10 million in first-year licensing fees with 98% of any windfall being earmarked for local educational programs and any remainder going towards the funding of problem gambling schemes.

Reportedly read a statement from Seitz…

This represented a lot of give and take, a lot of compromise, a lot of wrangling over seemingly innocuous words.”

Profitable potential:

The Plain Dealer reported that numerous experts have predicted that Ohioans could be annually placing approximately $3.35 billion in sports-related wagers once the market fully develops. House Bill 29 purportedly gives the state the ability to take full advantage of such a scenario via the issuance of even more online sportsbetting licenses and the ability to allow even the smaller bars to operate self-service betting kiosks.

Likely lull:

Finally, the newspaper reported that House Bill 29 calls on the Ohio Casino Control Commission regulator to begin issuing sportsbetting licenses by the first day of April and have the entire scheme up and running before the start of 2023. However, multiple observers have purportedly forecast that it could still be more than a year until punters in Ohio are allowed to begin placing bets owing to expected delays in issuing licenses and establishing the new regulatory system with its range of administrative rules.