- Governor Mike DeWine stated that legalizing sports betting in Ohio is inevitable in a press briefing on Monday.
- In a hearing on Wednesday, Ohio lawmakers heard testimony from Bally’s, Caesars Entertainment, and Intralot.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Legal sports betting is on the horizon in Ohio but before the market can be rolled out to sports gamblers in the Buckeye State, hearings have to be conducted and bills have to be passed.
Currently, there aren’t any Ohio sports betting bills but Governor Mike DeWine is aware of that and is looking to change that by the end of 2021.
“Sports gaming’s already in Ohio. Ohio’s just not regulating it,” said DeWine. “This is something that I think is inevitable. It’s coming to Ohio.”
There has been sports betting legislation that has been proposed in Ohio before, but nothing significant progress was ever made on those bills in the political process. However, this seems like the year where legislators in Ohio will push legal sports betting through the finish line and begin to generate revenue from wagers placed.
“The members of the general assembly are working that process,” said DeWine. “I will have the opportunity to see what they came up with. I will have the opportunity to weigh in at the appropriate time. But sports gaming is certainly coming to Ohio.”
Current Ohio Sports Betting Discussions
On Wednesday, Ohio legislators held a hearing to gain more perspective on what a legalized sports betting market would look like. Lawmakers heard testimony from potential stakeholders in Ohio sports betting including Intralot, Bally’s, and Caesars. All of the companies voiced their support for sports betting in front of Ohio’s Senate Committee on Gaming.
Intralot’s case, in particular, was interesting as their Director of Government Relations Tara Jones pushed for a 40% tax rate on sports betting and using Tennessee’s tax system on the sports gambling industry as a possible framework for Ohio. Intralot’s representative also pushed for sports betting through Ohio’s lottery system as a way to maximize revenue for the state.
While it remains to be seen what Ohio lawmakers agree upon they must find a way to regulate sports betting before the start of the college football and NFL seasons begin. It seems right for Intralot to aim big in Ohio as they’ve failed to carve out their own space in the two other sports betting markets they’re licensed for in Washington D.C. and Montana.
While Intralot likely won’t get the 40% tax rate it seeks on the Ohio sports betting market, it should give bettors confidence that legislation will get done sooner rather than later. With the Governor already saying sports betting is coming, it is now in the hands of the legislature to deliver DeWine a bill to sign as all of Ohio waits.