Rep. Dave Greenspan, sponsor of the Ohio sports betting bill HB 194.

  • Sponsors for the two sports betting bills on the table in Ohio have either not been re-elected for 2021 or have reached the end of their term within the Ohio Legislature.
  • While this may seem like a negative to get sports betting legalized before the year is over, it isn’t as the bills will be dying out with their terms should they not receive passage.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sponsors of Ohio’s sports betting bills were not re-elected to maintain their seats within the Ohio Legislature in 2021 but will their respective bills be passed into law during the lame-duck session?

November 3 saw Representative Dave Greenspan, sponsor of House Bill 194 lose his bid for re-election along with Senator Sean O’Brien, a sponsor for Senate Bill 111.

Senator John Eklund, another sponsor of OH SB 111 will finish his term at the end of the year.

What Does This Mean For The Sports Betting Bills On The Table?

The Buckeye State has entered its lame-duck session that will give them until the end of the year to tie up any loose ends on bills they’d like to see pass.

House Bill 194 is the one bill for sports wagering legalization that shows actual promise to be approved should it get on the calendar to get through the final stages of greenlights required to become law before the session adjourns.

Senate Bill 111 did not go as far in its progression prior to all government focus being turned to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Amendments made to the original proposal of OH HB 194 have since combined aspects of OH SB 111 so that the Senate and the House are each satisfied with the end result which is what the current form of the house bill’s draft looks like.

Under the new draft, both casinos and racinos will be eligible for two licenses, capping the state at 22 licenses for eleven locations.

The tax rate is set at 8% and fees for licensure are set at $100,000 every five years by operators. Ohio estimates millions of dollars in projected revenue that would go toward the education system in the state as the bill stipulates.

While many think that the main sponsors on both of these bills not being a part of the Ohio Legislature in 2021 will hinder any further progress that’s not the case.

“Representatives are continuing to work the bill (HB 194) through the process,” said Representative Brigid Kelly, a sponsor for House Bill 194, to LegalSportsBetting on Thursday.

All of the sponsors will continue to rally and be a part of any legislation moves in 2020. House Bill 194 still has a chance to make it through with its sponsor, Representative Greenspan intact to back it among his fellow policymakers.

Both OH HB 194 and OH SB 111 will die out at the end of the year and would no longer be eligible to crossover into the 2021 session. Therefore, it makes no difference whether or not the sponsors are back in 2021 because even if they were, their bills wouldn’t be and they’d have to start from scratch with new proposals.

What Does The Future In Ohio Hold?

Should Ohio sports betting not be passed in the lame-duck session of 2020, the state can expect to see other sports betting bills come to light by different lawmakers in the 2021 session.

There are many advocates for making a legalized sports wagering industry in Ohio become a real market. After all, each of the current bills has a number of co-sponsors attached to them that could move forward with their own pieces of new legislation in 2021 regarding sports betting.

However, there is still a chance for OH HB 194. With the Coronavirus Pandemic still affecting the state budget, the new revenue stream sports betting would provide might be more welcomed.

Sports wagering revenue has been earmarked for the education system of Ohio which is currently receiving budget cuts because of the outbreak of COVID-19 and the financial problems it’s caused. If those voting in the House want to save schools from budget cuts, they could very well legalize sports betting before 2020 ends to be able to do that.

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