Ohio State Senator Kirk Schuring

  • The Ohio Legislature will hear its first sports gaming bill in 2021 on Thursday.
  • Ohio wants to regulate a sports wagering market this year and this proposal should fit the bill to get it done.
  • Both mobile and retail sportsbooks would be open for wagers within the market through this measure.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After months in the making, Ohio will see a sports betting bill introduced on Thursday. Originally, the legislation for a sports wagering industry in the Buckeye State was promised by April 21.

A little over two weeks later, the bill’s sponsor, Senator Kirk Schuring went on 1450 WHBC on Monday to announce that the Ohio Legislature will hear the proposal by the end of the week.

The Two Biggest Issues For The Ohio Sports Gaming Measure

Ohio has probably put more time and effort into trying to come up with the best possible bill for regulated sports betting in the state than any other in the nation.

From studies to the Senate Select Committee on Gaming (SSCG) being created and having nine weeks of hearings to gather as much information as possible says it all. The state is committed to regulating sports gaming but wants to do so in the most beneficial way.

This has led to the enormous proposal that’s been drawn up. Due to the number of details given by a variety of people, the current Ohio sports betting bill is 250 pages in length.

This is much larger than bill proposals of the garden variety which means it will need to be edited quite a bit. However, there continue to be two big issues still weighing on lawmakers when it comes to a potential sports betting market; who will be eligible for a license and who will be in charge of the industry.

While retail and mobile sportsbooks are both a part of the bill, there is the back and forth about regulators for the industry because with each of the two in question comes an entirely different landscape for the sports gaming market in Ohio. The Ohio Lottery could regulate the industry or the Ohio Casino Commission could do the job.

With the lottery, businesses statewide that include bowling alleys and restaurants could operate sportsbooks, which some residents in Ohio believe to be of the utmost importance.

These business owners do not want to be left out in the cold and prohibited from a lucrative market while casinos and other gaming establishments in the state get to profit further as they already generate more money than small businesses do.

Through the Ohio Casino Commission, casinos, race tracks, and professional sports venues would be eligible for sportsbooks. It would be far less of a saturated market with this route but at the same time, a minimum number of businesses get to enter the industry.

However, gaming operators believe this to be the right choice for a future Ohio sports betting law.

“It is critical that the operation of retail and mobile sports betting be limited to existing licensed gaming operators, who have invested billions in economic development in Ohio,” said Eric Schippers, senior vice president of Penn National Gaming.

What’s Coming For Ohio

The Ohio Legislature will have to go through the 250-page sports gaming bill after it is formally introduced on Thursday.

From there, edits and amendments can be made to the draft as it moves forward. Ohio has every intention of regulating sports betting in 2021.

Plenty of hearings will be taking place to do so but luckily, the session lasts all year long and this measure will have everything in it to fit the bill for regulated sports gaming for Ohio in 2021.

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