Ohio Senator John Eklund.

  • There is three weeks left in the Ohio session to legalize sports betting for the Buckeye State.
  • Senator John Eklund believes there is more than enough time to make sports gaming legal in the state but it will require both House and Senate approvals.
  • The next hearing is set for December 15 to speak on the topic.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio lawmakers like Senator John Eklund, the sponsor to Senate Bill 111 that would legalize sports betting in the Buckeye State, are remaining positive that this legislation can pass and become law during the final three weeks of the year.

On Tuesday, OH SB 111 was heard by the Ohio Legislature’s General Government and Agency Review Committee for its fourth hearing in its path to approval.

Nothing in terms of a vote on the bill was done with Senator Eklund speaking rather quickly on his proposal. He submitted a request for a substitute measure for Senate Bill 111 which was granted.

This substitution mirrors any of the current proposals in Ohio for sports wagering legalization, including that of House Bill 194.

What’s On The Table To Legalize In Ohio For Sports Betting

For what little time he spoke, Eklund corrected a previous statement made on the bill in regards to fees by operators.

The application fee is $100,000 with a license renewal fee of $100,000 to be paid every three years. It was noted to be $200,000 from a prior hearing which was incorrect.

The casinos and racinos of Ohio will be eligible for one land-based sportsbook license and one mobile sportsbook license.

Penn National Gaming and JACK Entertainment each have more than one location out of the eleven in Ohio with gambling operations. Penn has the most to choose from in terms of mobile operators they’ll use should OH SB 111 become legal. JACK Entertainment will have two picks while all other establishments will have one.

Penn will undoubtedly unveil their Barstool Sportsbook platform in Ohio with one of their mobile licenses. They have already made deals with DraftKings, FOX Bet, and PointsBet to take mobile licenses tethered to their other land-based facilities.

With so many operators looking to open in Ohio and now only eleven licenses available from the original thirty-three, it will be a fight to get a spot within the new sports betting industry should the bill come to pass.

At the beginning of discussions, retail locations were allotted three skins for mobile sportsbook operators but that has now been changed to one.

This is a strategic move to not saturate the market with tons of options for online sportsbooks right out of the gate and to appease those voting on the law who may not like the idea of mobile gaming as much. There is always an option in the future to amend the law and add more to it should Ohio feel the need to do so.

Currently, the focus is to get sports betting made into a legal industry for the Buckeye State in the three weeks it has left in the session.

What Eklund Sees In The Next Three Weeks

The substitution from Tuesday’s hearing will need to pass through the House and Senate in these last three weeks.

Eklund has said that that is more than enough time to get the bill passed because he has not heard any major opposition to make him believe otherwise. His term ends at the end of the year and he would like to see his bill become law on his way out.

“Yes, I do think there is still time to get this done this year,” said Eklund to LegalSportsBetting late last month.

The next hearing for sports betting legalization in Ohio is set for December 15.

With both House sponsors, Representative Dave Greenspan and Representative Brigid Kelly on the side of making wagering on sports legal in the House and Eklund’s team rallying to make it legal in the Senate, there may just be enough time to get all the approvals in before 2021.

Now is the time of year to “Believe” after all, and lawmakers in the Buckeye State believe that sports bettors in Ohio could see legal sportsbooks in 2021 but only time will tell, three weeks’ time to be exact.

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