Ohio Sports Betting An Issue For Autumn As June Deadline Passes

Posted on July 2, 2021
Ohio sports betting
Posted By on July 2, 2021

The seemingly possible task of passing an Ohio sports betting bill by June 30 finally fell short.

Multiple efforts by the Senate to push legal Ohio sportsbooks through the House failed this week. The House, not closely involved in the crafting of SB 176, decided not to rush through the process.

Of course, the Senate did not exactly put the pedal to the metal either. The first of 15 committee hearings concerning a sports betting and electronic bingo bill began Feb. 3. A bill was not introduced until mid-May, though, and only passed out of committee June 15.

Talks between the Senate and the House will continue through the summer so OH sports betting can be a “top priority” once the legislature returns in September, House Speaker Bob Cupp told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Ohio sports betting language added to HB 29 failed

The Senate’s most recent failure to legalize sports betting in Ohio came after midnight Wednesday.

Rep. Brigid Kelly, the lone remaining sponsor of last year’s sports betting legislation, was the second representative to speak on the House floor against the changes to HB 29 suggested by Sen. Kirk Schuring.

“There is a lot to unpack in this bill and we should take the time and careful consideration to do it so I also urge a no vote to non-concur on the Senate amendments,” Kelly said.

While only two spoke in opposition, it became clear the members were on the same page, especially after Cupp told local media the changes would not be considered before the break.

“Zero affirmative votes, 96 negative votes, the Senate amendments are definitely not agreed to,” Cupp said, chuckling a few times.

Proposal will likely change over the summer

The language proposed for HB 29 is most likely just the latest in a long line of changes.

When announcing the bill in May, Schuring said he would offer nothing up to any business on a silver platter. That has changed since professional teams and leagues in Ohio now get preferred access to mobile and retail licenses.

Access was also made easier for the four casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Those casinos might have missed out on retail sportsbooks had the teams in those cities taken the licenses first.

Those teams took a bit of a hit for preferential treatment, though. Mobile licenses for sports organizations only include one mobile sports betting skin. Any other entity would get two skins, with the second able to launch a year after the first.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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