The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the federal sports betting ban in 2018, clearing the way for individual states to legalize sports betting.
Within a month, legislation and ballot issues were proposed to legalize and regulate a new industry, but the movement didn’t gain much initial momentum with questions circling the central issues.
However, on July 12, Senators John Eklund and Sean O’Brien crafted a bill with a straightforward proposition in the hopes of bringing some clarity to the discussion.
Ohio sports betting status
While it has not yet been formally introduced to the General Assembly, Section 1 of the Bill 316 would seek to “develop and enact legislation legalizing sports wagering.”
According to Cleveland.com, the senators hope to have a working bill by the late summer or fall of 2018.
Ohio borders on Pennsylvania (legalized sports betting following SCOTUS decision) and West Virginia, which plans to launch its form of legalized sports betting in September. Nearby New Jersey already generated $3.5 million in revenue from sports betting in the industry’s first month.
The Ohio infrastructure for sports gambling is in place with four land-based and seven racetrack casinos, as well as a lottery system in place. It’s still unclear as to whether the state lottery would support or oppose sports wagering in the state, but the casinos have been on board since late May.
Another option would be to open sports books and local sports bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and fraternal organizations for veterans, etc.
There are some questions of conflicting interest since Detroit mogul Dan Gilbert owns the Cleveland Cavaliers and has controlling ownership of JACK Entertainment, a company that operates several Ohio casinos. However, the NBA does not currently restrict team owners from owning casinos as well.
Most opposition to the movement towards sports gambling in Ohio is regarding the regulation of the industry by casinos or other private businesses. It may take some time, but if the legislators are thorough and stringent with their plans to regulate the industry, Ohio should eventually join the fold by allowing sports gambling.
Ohio Sports Betting FAQ
When will sports betting be legal in Ohio?
Ohio legislators hope to have a bill in place to discuss the legalization and regulation of a sports betting industry within the state. Those legislators hope the bill will be up for discussion by the fall of 2018 and potentially up for vote by early the end of this year’s session.
Where can I place sports bets in Ohio?
It is unknown where residents will be able to bet in Ohio if sports gambling is legalized. Proposals could restrict wagering to the 11 casinos or spread them out around the state at individual businesses.
What sports teams could I bet on in Ohio?
It is currently unknown if residents would be able to bet on the eight professional sports teams or the numerous collegiate teams in Ohio. As a point of reference, Mississippi is legalizing sports gambling and has no plans to restrict bets on its collegiate teams.
Who would oversee Ohio sports betting?
The Ohio Lottery and Casino Control commissions are both candidates to oversee and regulate the industry, but for now, both are deferring for guidance to state lawmakers.
Can I get into trouble for placing bets with unregulated online sportsbooks in Ohio?
Yes, in order for a sportsbook to be legal it must be sanctioned by the state and placing bets with an unregulated bookkeeper can result in fines and potential jail time.