Ohio Has Framework In Place For 2021 Sports Betting Push

Ohio Has Framework In Place For 2021 Sports Betting Push

Ohio finally moved the bar on sports betting legislation just a little bit, which is considered progress.

Why Ohio?

Because it’s getting left behind as nearly all of its neighbors (except for Kentucky) will have booming sports betting markets in 2021. With Michigan about to launch (and Ohio hates to be behind anything involving Michigan) and a budget deficit because of the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio needs to get something done in 2021.

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Legislation made it through a Senate committee in December but failed to reach the floor during a lame-duck legislative session. Three of the four major supporters of sports betting in Ohio will no longer be legislators in 2021 (two lost re-election and another was term-limited).

But the foundation for decent sports betting legislation is in place, and it had strong backing from the gaming industry during hearings.

New lawmakers need to take the ball and run with it in January, but with stakeholders’ support and what seems to be a population hungry for sports betting (there are already casinos and racinos in place), there shouldn’t be too many obstacles to getting it done.

What to Expect in Ohio

With Pennsylvania, Indiana and West Virginia seemingly posting record sports betting figures every month, and Michigan about to launch what is expected to be a lucrative market, Ohio will likely move forward in 2021 and fairly quickly.

Since there had been progress in the legislature in 2020, this won’t be re-inventing the wheel. If the state needs other models to study, Ohio could easily take best practices from its neighboring states.

The largest operators, DraftKings, FanDuel, Barstool (via Penn National), BetRivers, BetMGM and William Hill, already have existing partnerships that would make a move into Ohio easy. The state’s 11 casinos/racinos already operate gaming, adding sportsbooks would be seamless.

As of now, online casinos and online poker are not on lawmakers’ radar.

2021 Forecast

Partly sunny. This makes too much sense from a fiscal standpoint for this not to get done sooner rather than later. With the framework of sports betting legislation already introduced (although the number of skins being capped at one is problematic), sports betting should be legalized in Ohio in 2021. If it can move quickly, maybe it can take its first bet within the year.

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