Ohio Rep. Brigid Kelly

  • There have been no Ohio sports betting bills presented yet in the 2021 legislative session.
  • Governor Mike DeWine has spoken out in favor of legalizing sports wagering in the Buckeye State, making an outcome more favorable with future proposals.
  • Revenue generated from legal retail and mobile sportsbooks would go toward funding programs for children in Ohio, including their education system.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Many believed 2020 was going to be the year Ohio sports betting was legalized, but that was not the case. But, not all hope is lost for those wanting to bet on sports in the Buckeye State soon.

Representative Brigid Kelly sat down with LegalSportsBetting to give an update on the 2021 outlook for the legalization of the sports gaming market in Ohio.

Kelly played a pivotal role in the legislative measures of 2020 regarding sports betting and of the four main sponsors behind those bills, she is the only remaining member for 2021 to still hold a seat in the Ohio Legislature.

Representative Kelly Intends To Carry The Torch In 2021

If anyone has been following the latest on-goings about sports betting in Ohio and its legal progress then they’ve heard that the Senate intends to start from square one on the subject. There has been talk of studying the pros and cons of what a legal sports wagering industry would mean for the Buckeye State.

Kelly has confirmed that this is indeed the case.

“What’s happening in the Senate is that they’ve created a Select Committee on Sports Gaming and from what the Chairman of that Committee says, their plan is to sort of start from scratch,” said Kelly to LegalSportsBetting. “However, I’m hoping that we might consider another course of action given how many hearings we’ve had and how much work we’ve done over the last two years with interested parties and advocates of the industry. Through that, we’ve been able to lay a strong foundation that I hope the Senate will take into consideration and even use some of the work that was done in their current process.”

Kelly believes that sports betting legalization is something that needs to be addressed and worked on expeditiously because every day without a legal sports wagering market in Ohio is another day of lost profits that could be seen in revenue.

All revenue generated from the gambling on sports industry would go toward funding education and programs for the children in the state.

“Essentially revenue from sports betting would be money that would be invested in the kids who are the future of Ohio,” said Kelly.

With all of the sporting events just around the corner, from baseball to March Madness, and other major professional and collegiate sports starting their seasons, money is constantly being left on the table because Ohioans wager on sports daily.

Many residents are members of internationally-based sportsbooks or drive out to neighboring states to gamble on the games. Yet as far as future legislation is concerned, Kelly remains optimistic.

“I’m hopeful that there still might be some consideration given to the previous bill (OH SB 111) from last session. There was a lot of work done, a lot of collaboration. We had almost a dozen hearings to come up with the final draft of the bill. And I think when you get to a place where almost everybody is equally happy with the end result, then it’s a good product and that’s what we had,” said Kelly.

What’s Next In 2021 For Ohio

At the present time, there has not been a piece of legislation introduced in 2021 that would legalize sports betting in Ohio. Not yet anyway, but Kelly says by way of background, they are still working toward introducing something in the House but that’s not something currently at the forefront.

“We ran into some trouble last time in the Senate which was disappointing but you know, again we laid out a really good, strong foundation for this term to pass legislation in an expeditious manner for sports betting so that we can start giving the people of Ohio a way that they can bet on their favorite teams right here,” said Kelly.

Kelly believes having Governor Mike DeWine as an advocate backing legal sports wagering in Ohio is a positive indication of the industry getting a lot of focus this session to become law by way of some bill in 2021. After the Senate gets an idea of what a legal sports betting market will mean for the Buckeye State, more movement toward legislation should occur.

Retail and mobile sportsbooks are expected to become legal under any future bill introduced.

“I think that the most important thing is that we need to get this done. People are continuing to bet on sporting events all around us, be it through outside platforms or neighboring states, it’s being done and if people are going to bet on sports they should be able to do it legally with the state of Ohio,” said Kelly.

Kelly will continue to move forward in trying to launch a legal sports gaming industry for the state of Ohio in 2021. Many of the ideas in previous legislation may be used because they came to a balanced proposal in terms of appeasing everyone toward the end of 2020, there just wasn’t enough time in the end.

While nothing is filed yet, the Ohio Legislature is open for hearings for the entire year.

If a bill to legalize the market were to be approved, it would be enacted 90 days from approval and could launch within six months as there would still be plenty to get done before going live, making 2022 the likeliest of times for Ohio to see a legal sports wagering industry of their own if a bill is passed this session.

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