The House bill proposes increasing the limit from five to seven sports-gaming facilities for the three largest counties in Ohio. The proposed change could provide new opportunities for sportsbook applicants previously rejected in Cuyahoga.
The House Finance Committee allowed HB33 to move forward on Tuesday. It is expected to be approved by the Ohio House of Representatives on Wednesday before it heads to the state Senate for revisions.
Ohio made sports betting legal at the start of 2023. In Cuyahoga county, the JACK Casino, JACK Thistledown Racino, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Guardians are given priority for the county’s five Type-B licenses for sports betting, according to state law.
According to House Bill 23, only 40 sports gaming licenses are allowed across Ohio. However, the proposed change in the budget bill would transfer “dormant” licenses from other counties to the largest counties in the State.
House Finance Committee Chair Jay Edwards said this proposal was requested by “multiple Republican members.”
Supporting local sports
The House bill will also support local sports by allowing more infrastructure projects to move forward, including a land bridge project in the developing Cleveland community.
The Ohio House budget proposal for 2024-25 includes a $62 million appropriation for the Cleveland Municipal Land Bridge project, aiming to connect the lakefront area around FirstEnergy Stadium, Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with downtown Cleveland.
The proposed land bridge over state Route 2 and the railroad tracks is part of a larger development plan by the Haslam Sports Group — including buildings, plazas, terraces and a playground along the waterfront.
The proposal comes as Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb and NFL’s Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam are focusing on the future of the city’s lakefront, with the latter committing to a substantial remodel of the Cleveland Browns Stadium in the coming years.
“Cleveland would benefit tremendously from the development of the waterfront,” Jimmy Haslem told reporters at last month’s NFL Owners Meetings.
During his State of the City address last week, the mayor was asked if he endorsed renovating the current stadium or building a new one. Bibb was also asked if the city had plans to fund a potential stadium project.
“Having the stadium down there seems to be in everybody’s best interest. So we’re committed to redoing the stadium. In all likelihood, it’s not going to have a dome, but it’ll be a substantial remodel of the existing facility and we’re probably 3, 4, 5 years away from that happening.”
– Justin Bibb, Mayor of Cleveland
No word yet who these additional casino licensees or their sportsbook partnerships will be but stay tuned to OH Betting for all the latest news and updates Ohio sports bettors crave.