- Three bills turned into two bills that would open sports betting in Ohio have stalled and the House adjourns for the summer on Wednesday, reconvening in mid-September.
- Amendments to the bills, including transgender bans from women competitions and adding NIL to sports betting legislation will need more time for consideration.
- House Bill 29 has until Wednesday to pass in the House to be able to give Ohio a regulated sports betting market by the 2021 NFL season.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sports betting legislation in Ohio has stalled out due to various amendments, including one that involves transgender athletes. There are a few sports gaming bills on the table in Ohio but all of them will be tabled on Wednesday as the House adjourns for the summer.
Ohio sports gaming legislation will not have another chance to be considered for becoming a regulated market until September 15 when the House reconvenes for the second part of their 2021 session which will adjourn on December 31.
What’s Going On In Ohio?
Ohio has been trying to get sports betting for years but the Buckeye State seems to fall short by session’s end each year. Retail and mobile sportsbooks are both named in measures to be considered by the Ohio Legislature should they agree to any legislation in 2021.
Senate Bill 176 was passed in the Senate on June 16 by a vote of 30 YEAS and 2 NAYS. The House Finance Committee was introduced to OH SB 176 on June 22 where it hoped to pass the bill by June 30 fully. However, on June 24, the Senate decided to change the language within the bill that would’ve allowed land-based and mobile sports betting.
Now OH SB 176 has added the topic of NIL to its proposal which will not only need to pass in the House but will require a second vote to occur within the Senate because of the amendments.
Senate Bill 187 was the original NIL bill sponsored by Senator Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg), the same sponsor of Senate Bill 176. These bills were just combined, however, and OH SB 187 now asks that there be a ban on transgender athletes competing in women’s sporting events.
The House will not be able to address these amendments until September but due to the sensitive subject matter, it will likely be an uphill battle for regulated sports betting to pass in Ohio for 2021.
A Third Sports Betting Bill Up Possible June 30 Passage
House Bill 29 was originally an Ohio veterans ID card bill but lawmakers have tacked sports betting onto the measure. This is in an effort to get the bill passed by June 30. The Senate passed the new version of the bill with 31 YEAS and 0 NAYS on Thursday.
The House has until Wednesday to pass the measure that they originally passed on March 10 for a second time now that it has sports betting on the menu. Under OH HB 29, there will be 25 mobile sportsbooks and 40 land-based licenses available for gambling on sports. Official league data would be mandatory for prop bets offered by sportsbooks. A 10% tax would be put on all GGR from the sports gaming industry.
Bars and restaurants with liquor licenses could apply to have two OVER/UNDER terminals at their locations for that kind of sports betting. Any county statewide with more than 800,000 residents would be allowed to have up to five licenses for retail sportsbooks.
This is the Senate’s “Hail Mary” attempt to pass sports betting in Ohio by June 30 so that it will be able to launch by the 2021 NFL season, as it takes 90 days to become official state law.
At this point, unless OH HB 29 passes, Ohio sports bettors will need to continue to use outside sportsbooks to wager on the NFL because there will not be enough time as talks begin again after the start of the season.
Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.