Ohio sports betting likely won’t be live anytime soon, officials with the Ohio Casino Control Commission said Wednesday. In fact, it may be late 2022 until the sports betting industry launches in the state.
“I believe the General Assembly was mindful of that process when it set [the Jan. 1, 2023 deadline], considering the task in front of our commission,” Matt Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, told cleveland.com.
After years of trying, Ohio lawmakers approved sports betting legislation earlier this month. Governor Mike DeWine has indicated he will sign the bill into law once his office receives it. Even if he doesn’t sign it, unless he vetoes it, the bill will become law 10 days after his office receives it.
The bill is reportedly undergoing small technical tweaks and has yet to be sent to DeWine’s office.
Why Is Sports Betting Delayed?
Under the terms of the law, Ohio sports betting must be operational by Jan. 1, 2023.
Since this is a new program, it must go through various review processes, each of which can take upwards of 180 days. The rules and regulations of sports betting must be reviewed by the Common Sense Initiative – a state organization that investigates the economic impact of new programs – and the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, a legislative panel that reviews new laws.
OCCC officials also told cleveland.com they did not expect to even begin the process of accepting applications from would-be operators until summertime at the earliest.
There are also potential legal challenges to the law, as opponents – including the American Policy Roundtable – argue it violates the state constitution.
“If the General Assembly has the ability to do this, why wouldn’t they put a casino on every street corner?” Rob Walgate, who works for the conservative policy organization, told the publication.
Last week John Cranley, a Democrat running for governor in 2022, argued DeWine should veto the bill.
“By putting the Casino Control Commission in charge of most sports betting, the bill seeks to steal money guaranteed to public education under the Ohio Constitution,” Cranley told WBNS-10 in Columbus.