When And Where Will Ohio Sports Bettors Be Able To Wager?

Barring something unforeseen, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine will likely sign the new Ohio sports betting bill into law by the end of the year.

“We have not yet received the bill, but we are reviewing the amendments adopted yesterday,” Daniel Tierney, DeWine’s press secretary, said in an email to Gaming Today last Thursday.

Tierney said it usually takes a few days for the procedural process to play out and the bill to arrive at the governor’s desk.

After months of fits and starts, lawmakers passed a modified version of H.B. 29 on Wednesday. The legislation puts control of sports betting in the state under the direction of the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

Legal Trouble For Sports Betting

The decision to put sports betting under the control of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, and not the Ohio Lottery, was part of the holdup this year. State Sen. Niraj Antani, a Republican and one of the leading advocates of sports betting in the Buckeye State, told local reporters that could cause a problem.

“I believe there will be litigation over this issue,” he told WBNS-Channel 10 in Columbus.

When And Where You Can Place Bets In Ohio

Assuming the legal issues are resolved smoothly, the bill stipulates all sports betting must be operational by Jan. 1, 2023. Additionally it requires that everything be functional at once, so while retail sportsbooks could be ready in July, if online is not, then no bets will be taken.

During an interview with WHBC radio in Canton after the legislation passed, state Sen. Kirk Schuring, another leading advocate who chaired the Senate Select Committee on Gaming, said the OCCC has indicated it should be able to get the program up and running sooner rather than later.

Bettors will have three options for sports bets: mobile, brick and mortar sportsbooks, and bars and restaurants.

Ohio lawmakers set up a two-tiered system. The first, more traditional route, allows for retail casinos and online mobile apps, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, to operate in the state. In an emerging trend (also occurring in Arizona, for example), professional sports teams will also have a piece of the pie. Sportsbooks are likely to popup at NFL, MLB, and NHL venues in the state. There will likely be books adjacent to, not necessarily within, MLB ballparks because of that league’s rules.

To accommodate small business owners who also want in on the action, lawmakers are allowing certain bars and restaurants with a specific liquor license to host kiosks that allow small wagers. A limit of $700 per week from a bettor was stipulated in the bill.

Business owners are excited about the prospect.

Patrick Howlett runs a small chain of local restaurants called Coaches Burger Bar. He told WKBN-27 News he expects the change to help his bottom line.

“I think just like having the lottery in the restaurants, having Keno, I think it keeps people there,” Howlett said. “I think you develop more regulars. I think people come and play in certain places, and that’s what they do.”

About the Author
Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today with a focus on legislation and political content. Mary 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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