State Senator: Ohio Sports Betting Could Launch This Fall

Sports bettors in Ohio might be able to place legal wagers with regulated sportsbooks in their state as early as the fall, according to the primary architect of the bill that became law.

State Senator Kirk Schuring, a Republican who represents the 29th district, called the issue of Ohio sports betting and gaming “complicated” in a recent interview with Pam Cook of News Talk 1480 WHBC radio in Canton, but he hinted that a sports wagering market could be in place in the Buckeye State by October.

Schuring reminded listeners on the radio show that what may seem like a slow process is actually an adherence to state law.

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Ohio Sports Betting Slowed By Mandated Waiting Periods

The state law requires a 90-day waiting period so after Gov. Mike Dewine signed the bill in December, lawmakers and state officials were mandated to cool their heels. The waiting period is in place to allow state voters a chance to force a referendum to in effect veto the law if they wish.

Those 90 days expired on March 21, but there’s also a review period that permits the legislature to make rules and meet in committees to discuss the law after it goes into effect. That period does not expire until June 21, and that’s where the legislators and the Ohio Casino Control Commission are now: establishing the regulatory process.

Eventually, licenses will be granted and a launch date will be set, which will be the conclusion of a sometimes challenging road to an Ohio sports betting market.

“It was a tough bill to pass because we had so many competing interests,” Schuring said.

Schuring also pointed out that lawmakers in the state had a difficult task to pass “the most comprehensive sports gaming law in the United States, with casinos, racinos, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, sports franchises, [and] sports lottery kiosks.”

Schuring said each of those areas and more require rules to govern the industry and that lawmakers are tasked with developing an application process.

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Timeline Set For Ohio Sports Betting Regulatory Process

Last week, the OCCC requested comments from the public on the sample applications developed by the state. Those comments are due by May 13. It’s expected that once a final application is agreed upon, state regulators will begin to accept applications. In a Sports Gaming Implementation Timeline released last week, the first deadline was set for July 15.

An exact launch date has yet to be determined, but the directors of the OCCC and Ohio Lottery Commission are cooperating to follow a timeline that could result in a market opening before November.

“I would think in the mid-to-late fall,” Schuring said in the interview.

According to the Senator, by mid-June, there will be a “portal” that allows prospective gaming operators to apply for licenses. There will also be provisional licensing that would enable background checks and approval to take place rather expeditiously. But as Schuring points out, there are many pieces to the puzzle that will make up the Ohio gaming industry, and for that reason, the market will likely not open until after the football season begins.

By Ohio law, legal sports betting and gaming must be launched no later than January 1, 2023.

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.