DeWine signs bills on sports gambling and more

The Ohio Statehouse

Credit: Laura A. Bischoff

caption arrowCaption
The Ohio Statehouse

Credit: Laura A. Bischoff

Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday signed nine bills that passed the General Assembly’s last sessions before the holidays, including legalizing sports gambling, a “born alive” abortion bill and a permanent expansion of services available through telehealth.

The Ohio Senate approved a conference committee’s reconciliation of rival bills to legalize gambling on sports. One of the bills was sponsored by state Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg.

The final version allows betting on professional sports, college sports and esports, including auto racing and golf, but keeps betting on horse races confined to established pari-mutuel betting at racetracks.

The law includes three levels of licenses:

· Up to 25 for online betting through professional sports organizations and existing casinos, likely in partnership with a sportsbook company to manage betting.

· Up to 40 licenses for physical locations with betting terminals and windows. They’re expected to mostly be at existing casinos and racinos. Owners of the first type of license must also hold the second type.

· Finally, licenses for up to 20 companies to supply self-service or clerk-operated gaming kiosks, which could be placed in an unlimited number of bars, bowling alleys and restaurants that hold liquor permits.

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Two racinos exist in the Miami Valley area: Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway in Montgomery County and Casino Lebanon/Miami Valley Gaming in Warren County.

Montgomery County could have up to three locations for the second type of license. Warren could have two. Butler, Clark, Greene and Miami could each have one.

Licenses for gambling facilities may be issued as early as summer 2022, and play will start no later than Jan. 1, 2023. Gambling through all three levels of license will start at the same time.

The bill imposes a 10% tax on sports gaming receipts. Of that, 98% will go to fund public and nonpublic education through General Assembly appropriations, with half to go on sports and other extracurricular activities. The remaining 2% will go to programs to combat gambling addiction.

“Born alive” bill

State Sen. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, sponsored the new law that expands the first-degree felony definition of “abortion manslaughter” to include failing to try to keep an infant alive born after an attempted abortion, such as by transferring an infant to a hospital. It creates a third-degree felony for failing to file a monthly “child survival form” for any fetus delivered alive after an abortion attempt.

An amendment was added saying abortion clinics operating under a variance from state law cannot have emergency service agreements with any doctor who is connected to a public institution.

ExploreOhio legislators pass ‘born alive,’ sports betting, other major bills

Only two of the state’s six abortion clinics operate under such variances: the ones in Kettering and Cincinnati. Democrats said the amendment would likely result in a de facto abortion ban in Southwest Ohio.

Telehealth

The expansion of telehealth use during the COVID-19 pandemic will become permanent.

Services providers now available through telehealth include psychologists, speech and hearing therapists, physical therapists, counselors and social workers, dietitians, optometrists, chiropractors and several other health care specialties. The law also requires insurance, public or private, to cover those services.

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