Ohio Capitol

  • Ohio sports betting will likely be regulated in 2021 with a bill that will get its first introductions in April.
  • Professional sports organizations as well as Governor Mike DeWine believe 2021 is the year for an Ohio sports betting market to launch.
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers have already partnered with Betway, showing how much faith they have for legislation to pass this year for a sports gaming industry.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After nine weeks of arduous hearings on the pros and cons of a regulated sports betting market in Ohio, the Senate Select Committee on Gaming adjourned on Wednesday with all of the information they need to form a bill by April.

The committee heard countless testimonies from a variety of people; everyone from the neighborhood grocers to sportsbook operators and professional sports organizations in the state.

With the mountains of information received, it is now up to committee members to draw up a proposal that will make everyone happy while being the most beneficial to Ohio. They will introduce the bill to the Ohio Legislature on April 21. Insiders believe that 2021 will be the year Ohio regulated sports betting will happen for the Buckeye State.

The Process Ahead In Ohio

Throughout their meetings, the Senate Select Committee on Gaming heard almost 50 people or groups come forward to weigh in with their views for regulated sports gaming in Ohio. There were opinions and suggestions for what they’d all like to see come out of the industry. All of these factors will now be pieced together to come up with legislation for the potential market.

The hearings were held specifically to discuss the regulation of sports betting and e-bingo in the state. There is an even split on the regulatory body that would be named for sports gaming.

Half of those who spoke would like to see the Ohio Lottery oversee the market while the other half would like it to be the Ohio State Racing Commission. The Ohio Casino Control Commission is out of the running based on the fact that the state does not count sports betting as a casino game, therefore they’d be unable to be named the regulatory body for the industry.

Most people were in agreeance that the sports betting market for Ohio should include both professional and collegiate wagers.

However, when it comes to collegiate games, there is still some issue as to whether Ohio schools should be included or not. Considering that Ohioans wager on sports every day and there is a huge following for the Ohio State Buckeyes, the committee may want to consider adding Ohio colleges to the sports betting menu.

Retail and mobile sportsbooks look to be a given for the future proposal that will roll out in April. So many different businesses want the opportunity to open up sportsbooks in the state that it will be a difficult task to figure out which businesses will be eligible to do so. Will it be the grocery stores, just gaming facilities, bowling alleys, or all of the above?

These are things that the committee will need to figure out within their three-week adjournment.

Will Ohio See Regulated Sports Betting In 2021?

If this were a magic eight ball, the answer for that question would be “all signs point to yes.” Betway has already partnered with the Cleveland Cavaliers in preparation for a regulated sports betting market in Ohio. This was a historical moment for the Buckeye State because it was the very first deal between a professional team in the state and a sports gaming operator.

Governor Mike DeWine is also certain that legislation will pass in 2021 as they were already so close in 2020.

“Sports gaming is already in Ohio, Ohio is just not regulating it,” said DeWine on March 1. “This is something that I think is inevitable and it’s coming to Ohio. The members of the general assembly are working that process, and I will have the opportunity to see what they come up with and the opportunity to weigh in at the appropriate time, but sports gaming is certainly coming to Ohio.”

Although the introduction of the bill will take place in April, the Ohio Legislature has until the end of the year to get the proposal passed and moved to Governor Mike DeWine’s desk for signature.

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