Gambling in the US has always been tricky, but Ohio is a state that takes the biscuit as far as legalization goes. Maybe Florida is in the same league, but at least the Sunshine State appears set to open the industry to bettors. Even after the Ohio Senate approved legislation in June, the House is still no closer to rubber-stamping the bill.
As a result, gamblers in Ohio can’t legally wager on sports markets in the state. Compared to the Buckeye State, neighbors such as West Virginia and Michigan are already benefiting from fewer restrictions. The question is, will Ohio follow their lead any time soon?
The History of Sports Betting in Ohio
Currently, it’s the Senate that is attempting to convince the House to pass its legislation through Ohio’s Congress. The sad thing is that Timeline of Sports Betting Legislation in Ohio regulations nearly came into effect in 2020 when representatives from both chambers met to discuss a bill. Everything looked positive until the Senate decided to change a few crucial details in December 2020.
The House pushed back. Since it was very late in the year, there wasn’t enough time to work out the fine print. Therefore, the bill that appeared as if it could finally legalize Ohio sports betting failed. By May 2021, SB176 was released by senator Kirk Schuring, and even though it wasn’t universally praised, it passed the Senate by a 30-2 vote.
What’s Happening Now?
Proponents of the bill are trying to revive interest in it by attaching it to a House Bill instead. HB29 focuses on veteran ID cards and has passed out of the House once. However, the House refused to accept the amendments that included revisions centering on sports wagering.
A summer recess in July meant that the bill has been kicked into the long grass until the fall. Still, that doesn’t mean it won’t pass. Governor Mike DeWine is on the record as saying that legalization is inevitable, which is why it’s not surprising that a bill has been revived. Plus, the legislature can look into bills until the last day of December, so there’s plenty of time for it to be passed if the two chambers can see eye to eye.
But, even then, licenses wouldn’t be awarded until spring 2022. As a result, it could be another six months before sports gambling in Ohio is legal.
What Can Ohio Residents Do?
Thankfully, four neighboring states haven’t moved as slowly as Ohio in terms of legalizing sports betting. The nearest states where sports wagering is legal are as follows:
- West Virginia
Of course, not every person who lives in Ohio can take advantage of the different regulations. Yet, if you live close to the borders, you can travel to one of these places and enjoy sports markets. This is because the law doesn’t apply to citizens or residents. You merely need to be within state lines to place bets legally. Alternatively, you can gamble legally in casinos, many of which already have relationships with DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars, and Barstool.
Is Ohio a Lucrative State for Sports Betting?
Yes. Not only do the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel have connections that make launching online sportsbooks straightforward, but the state’s population is another factor. So is the fact that it is home to several franchises from top US sporting institutions.
Sports betting in Ohio isn’t legal yet, but a bill could be passed and in place by 2022.