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Legal Sports Betting In Ohio

Hasan Nabulsi
Ohio Sports Betting

Legal sports betting in Ohio is only a few steps away from becoming a reality.

As of March 1st, 2021, Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine acknowledges that “Sports gaming is already in Ohio”, but that “Ohio is just not regulating it”. This was just the beginning of his remarks, as he spoke of the “inevitable” coming of legal sports betting in the state.

On top of this, the Ohio House of Representatives recently passed the bill House Bill 194 through their chamber and sent it to the Senate where it will also need to pass in order to become law. 

As Governor Dewine has already shown his support for legal sports betting in Ohio, so it is really up to the Senate to decide how they will handle the bill. 

Where Can you Bet On Sports In Ohio?

Where you can bet on sports in Ohio will ultimately be decided by current sitting legislators. 

Those in the Senate would prefer to see sportsbooks in the state’s casinos only, whereas members in the House would prefer to see sports betting kiosks distributed to over 1,000 retail establishments throughout the state. 

State’s in the past have taken both routes but most have taken the option of keeping the casinos in charge of it. 

Both sides agree to have mobile sports betting apps in Ohio. So if either side is able to get their way, you will technically be able to bet on sports anywhere in Ohio so long as you are within the state’s borders. 

Sports Betting Sites In Ohio

Sports betting in Ohio is shaping up to become a robust market. Members of the House and Senate want to open the door to statewide mobile sportsbooks in Ohio in order to capture the most profits possible from the industry.

Lawmakers on both sides also want to see third-party online sports betting brands like DraftKings, PointsBet, and BetMGM, be able to come in and be a part of the marketplace. 

With multiple brands competing for customers, sports bettors in Ohio can expect to see enticing odds from some of the best in the business.

Ohio Sports Betting Timeline

While it seems like Ohio is still at the early stages of expanding its gambling options to sports betting, getting to this point has been a long and heated process.

Our Ohio sports betting timeline below will show just how long it’s taken for this single bill to make it this far.

2019 – The Sports Betting Bill Is First Introduced

The first motion to legalize sports betting in Ohio came in March of 2019 when Senate Bill 111 was first introduced. The bill is sponsored by Senator John Eklund.

Under the terms of this bill, the only land-based locations to offer sportsbooks in Ohio would be the state’s casinos. Those casinos could then partner with online sports betting companies for statewide mobile sportsbooks. 

The tax rate for sports betting revenue would be set at 6.25%. But, the key sticking point is that the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) would be the ones in charge of regulating the industry.

The very next month, Rep. Dave Greenspan introduced HB 194

Under Greenspan’s bill, casinos would be able to host Ohio sportsbooks but so would veterans of fraternal organizations as well as various retail locations.

Sports betting would also be taxed at 10% and the Ohio Lottery would be in charge of regulating the state’s sports betting industry.

The only action taken in 2019 for SB 111 was that it was referred to the General Government and Agency Committee in October. 

HB 194, however, underwent eight hearings from May all the way until November.

2020 – HB 194 is Onto the House Floor

No new Ohio sports betting bills were introduced in 2020, but the bills from 2019 were still in play due to how Ohio’s legislature works. 

SB 111 has remained in place but HB 194 has continued to see action.

On May 27, 2020, HB 194 received its ninth hearing and was finally voted out of committee and onto the House floor. One day later, the House voted to pass the bill by a margin of 83-10.

2021 – Sports Betting Bill Pending With the senate

With events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 Presidential Election delaying the bill’s progress, and Ohio’s neighbor state Pennsylvania showing a successful turnout from its newfound sports betting market, the question is no longer if, but when will The Buckeye State legalize sports gambling, and will 2021 be the year?

The bill is currently sitting in the Senate where lawmakers on that side may likely choose to add amendments to the bill before sending it off to Governor Dewine. 

Only time will tell when and how they come to a conclusion. 

Ohio Sports Betting FAQs

Can I Bet On The Ohio State Buckeyes In Ohio?

Betting on the Ohio State Buckeyes and other in-state collegiate teams is still up in the air. Ohio State and all other in-state collegiate sports programs formally wrote a letter to the legislature urging them to ban betting on their teams in 2019. However, given how much money the state would gain by allowing residents to bet on their alma mater, it’s hard to see lawmakers adding a ban in their legislation.

What Is The Ohio Sports Betting Tax Rate?

Members of the House approved a bill with a 10% Ohio sports betting tax rate. But, members of the Senate still have a bill with a 6.25% tax rate. This would be imposed on Ohio sportsbooks and not directly to sports bettors.

Who Will Regulate Sports Betting In Ohio?

This is one of the biggest areas of contention for lawmakers. Members of the House want the state lottery to regulate sports betting in Ohio, while members of the Senate want the Ohio Casino Control Commission to be in charge. Both legislative chambers are still arguing about this. 

When will Sports Betting In Ohio Be Legalized?

There is no definitive timeline for when sports betting in Ohio will be legalized since the state’s legislative session lasts all year. But, it does appear to be sooner rather than later. The Ohio House recently passed HB 194 and sent it off to the Senate. It all depends on how soon Senate members act on the bill and how quickly Governor Dewin will be in the event the bill reaches his desk.