A little over a year from the first moves to clarify the status of daily fantasy sports in Ohio, the state Senate has passed bill H132, which in late May this year sailed through the House on an 82 vs. 15 vote before being referred to the Senate.
The bill has now been referred to Governor John Kasich for signature into state law, making Ohio the second top-10 state in terms of population to enact fantasy sports legislation, joining New York.
Republican Senator Dave Burke spoke for the bill, saying it will legalise and regulate an activity for people who can pick sports winners.
“I don’t consider that gambling – I consider that skill,” Burke said.
Fellow Republican Sen. Bill Coley reportedly wanted more regulations on fantasy gaming, emphasising that he’s not against gambling, but is against bad law. He also proposed a 6 percent tax, which was not supported.
Our readers may recall that the conversation on DFS began in September 2016, when state Attorney General Mike DeWine suggested that the state’s General Assembly address the lack of clarity for paid-entry fantasy sports through legislation, writing:
“It is unclear whether DFS websites, as currently operating, violate R.C. Chapter 2915. Due to this lack of clarity, and the variety of laws DFS implicates, the General Assembly may want to address this issue”
That was followed by both pro and anti-legislative proposals from state lawmakers, culminating in H132 from Reps. Dever and McColley, who proposed that the Ohio Casino Control Commission exercise oversight on the vertical.
Other provisions in the bill are a very reasonable $10,000 maximum licensing fee; no operational tax; the usual consumer protections such as age verification, self-exclusion, and segregation of funds, along with operator integrity, financial and background checks. There is a specific prohibition on kiosk-based contests in retail locations, ruling out DFS contests at bricks and mortar establishments.