Ohio Sports Betting Update: Legislation Is Coming ‘Soon’, State Senator Says

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Ohio sports betting seems stuck in neutral, but a leading advocate says lawmakers are  “making progress.”

State Sen. Kirk Schuring, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Gaming, told a local radio station proponents are still working on ironing out differences among stakeholders.

“We are just trying to get to the point where we can have some semblance of order and get this bill passed. I think it will be soon,” Schuring told News-Talk 1480 AM in Canton, Ohio. 

He did not offer a timetable, other than to say he hoped it would be “soon.”

Issues Holding Up Ohio Sports Betting

Advocates had hoped to have the issues settled before the recess this past summer.  Then the target was Labor Day. Halloween was later mentioned as a deadline.

Those benchmarks came and went and nothing happened.  

During his brief interview, Schuring noted the various stakeholders who want a piece of the action. Their disagreements are what is holding up the final legislation. The Senate passed sports betting legislation earlier this year, but the House has been a bigger lift. 

Sports betting legislation is now being crafted by a conference committee to address the multiple concerns. 

“Everybody wants to be a part of the market,” Schuring said.

Professional sports teams want the ability to have sportsbooks on their premises. Smaller entertainment facilities such as bowling centers want sports betting kiosks. Existing casinos and racinos want the ability to offer sports betting for their patrons, too.

The Senate-passed version allows for brick-and-mortar retail sportsbooks in counties with a population of at least 100,000.

While not going far off his message that sports betting would happen soon and sounding somewhat frustrated with the ongoing delays, Schuring was clear the multiple balls in the air were causing the delay. 

What’s Next For Ohio Sports Betting

The conference committee, which Schuring sits on, needs to present its legislation to both chambers. If it passes before the end of the year, Governor Mike DeWine could sign.  

DeWine (R) said in March he expected to sign a bill this year. 

The expectation remains that Ohio sports betting would be up and running by late spring 2022, if the Legislature passes it in 2021. 

If, however, the hiccups remain, sports betting could be punted until later in 2022.

About the Author

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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