Sports Wagering legislation (SB176/HB29) – Urgent Call for Action!

Mike Annechino

Attention all Horsepeople: Please read the letter below regarding the Legislation that is soon to be voted on in Columbus. In no uncertain terms – our industry/business MUST be a part of this bill! Please read the letter below and contact your local representatives to show your support of our inclusion in this revenue stream. Your/our very future may depend on it. Thank you.

Please accept this letter on behalf of the Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association (OTBO). Our organization was founded in 1958 and represents the hard-working Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners. Our membership ranges from multi-generational families with decades of experience to new members who have come to Ohio or made investments recently in support of our racing industry. Many rural communities in Ohio are heavily supported by the jobs, investments, and taxes our members pay every year.

Ohio horse racing is a multi billion-dollar industry. In 2018, the industry generated an economic impact of $2.8 billion and 21,000 direct jobs, for $900 million in income.

During the deliberation of Sports Wagering legislation (SB176/HB29), our Association is respectfully requesting the following two (2) be included in the final version of any gaming legislation:


  • 3% of the “Sports Gaming Revenue Fund” to be transferred to the Ohio State Racing Commission Fund as occurs now from the Gross Casino Revenue, and which was authorized by the Ohio Constitution for the casino gaming expansion. The grant was put in place to benefit the breeding and horse racing


  • 9-11% of the Ohio Lottery Agent’s Commission as a Sports Gaming Agent from Sports Wagering and as a Lottery Agent from the Sports Gaming


The above amendment request on revenue distribution provides consistency with Ohio’s current gaming expansion structure under both the Revised Code and Ohio Constitution. First, the Ohio Constitution and VLT expansion both require a revenue share for horse racing from Casino and VLT Agents due to the recognized economic harm that would occur to the horsemen’s industry upon expansion. Second is the consequence, or “dilution” of the gaming market, which spreads finite entertainment dollars from potential customers more thinly, by moving them to the newer offerings following expansion. Revenue Dilution in Ohio has occurred with horse racing wagers since the expansion on casino and VLT wagering in Ohio.

The requested amendment will help ensure that the horse racing industry in Ohio has the best chance to remain competitive within our state and in relation to the surrounding states. This traditional industry has long been an important part of the fabric that makes Ohio the unique and appealing state it is. If this is lost, the damage will be devastating to the many communities, supporting businesses, livelihoods, and tax base that Horse Racing – and specifically our Breeding Programs – represent.

On behalf of the entire Board of Directors of the OTBO, we respectfully ask that you accept our proposed amendment for the good of not only the racing industry but the entire State of Ohio as well.


Michael J. Annechino, Executive Director of the OTBO and Board Member – Wooster

Individually and for:

OTBO Board of Directors

John Royer, President – Columbus

James Fraser Vice-President – Cincinnati

Diane Tieman, Secretary – Centerville

Tod Beckett, DVM – Dublin

Steven Chumney – East Sparta

Daryl Duncan – Warsaw

Tony Fischbach – Avon Lake

Bobby McMichael – Wilmington

Robin Murphy – Bethel

Craig Powell – Fresno

Chris Rosell – Lebanon

James Yaegel – Maineville

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