A Timeline of Events: How Ohio Sports Betting Was Legalized

A Timeline of Events: How Ohio Sports Betting Was Legalized
By Howard Gensler

Ohio has passed a sports betting bill, which will cover online gaming, live brick-and-mortar and racino gaming, and independent kiosk gaming. Now it’s up to the Ohio Casino Control Commission to get sportsbooks up and running and the revenue flowing.

According to the Ohio sports betting bill recently signed by Gov. Mike DeWine, the commission has a little less than a year, with sports betting beginning no later than Jan. 1, 2023.

Ohio Sports Betting Timeline

Here is a timeline of how the Buckeye state made it happen:

Jan. 26. 2021

Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman formed the Senate Select Committee on Gaming to bring sports betting to the state. It was considered a new start for Ohio sports betting legislation after an amended sports betting bill in December 2020 was not reviewed by the Ohio Senate General Government Agency Review Committee. Legislation did not have a chance to be approved in 2020.

March 19, 2021

Sen. Kirk Schuring, the Senate Select Committee on Gaming chairman, after seven meetings of the committee, sets a timeline to introduce a bill. Earlier in March, DeWine predicted sports wagering will be legalized this year in Ohio.

May 6. 2021

SB 176, the bill that allows for online and retail sports betting and expands gaming, was introduced. Schuring presented a 252-page plan for what he calls “a powerful bill that no one has seen before.”

May 12, 2021

During the first hearing for SB 176, the legislation get amended. One of the big changes was that casinos could apply for Class B sports betting licenses. The bill allowed for 20 Class A and 20 Class B licenses.

June 16, 2021

The Ohio Senate passed SB 176. The bill needed to also pass the House and get the signature of DeWine, a supporter of sports betting.

The bill passed 30-2. Cleveland.com reported Sen. Matt Dolan abstained because his family has an ownership stake in the Cleveland Indians, now Guardians.

SB 176 would create licenses for online gaming, brick-and-mortar and related gaming, and self-serve gaming at bars, restaurants, etc.

The bill proposed that the state would implement a 10% tax on net revenue.

June 24, 2021

The Senate passed HB 29, a bill primarily about obtaining veteran’s ID cards, and then stuck SB 176, its big sports betting bill, on to the House bill.

June 28, 2021

The House refused to approve the Senate’s sports betting amendment and everything got pushed off to the fall.

Sept. 23, 2021

The Ohio state Senate called for a conference committee to meet and address SB 176 and HB 29, one bill from each legislative body aimed at launching sports betting in the state. Typical political infighting continued to occur, but a goal was to have the bill ready for a vote by Halloween.

Nov. 1, 2021

Halloween came and went with no treat for Ohio sports bettors. State Senator Kirk Schuring, a bill supporter, said a delay in the bill was being caused by disagreements over how to handle mobile wagering.

Nov. 8, 2021

Schuring told Ohio radio WHBC 1480 that progress was continuing, but slow. A week later he pointed fingers elsewhere, claiming the Senate passed its bill in June and “special interests” were now holding it up.

Dec. 6, 2021

News reports claimed the last sticking point over the number of mobile skins had been resolved and the House and Senate had reached a deal.

Dec. 8, 2021

The 225-page HB 29 passed both the House and Senate and moved on to DeWine. The bill stated that sports betting in Ohio would start on or before Jan. 1, 2023.

Dec. 22, 2021

DeWine signed HB 29 into law. Now the Ohio Casino Control Commission has to work out all the details for a state that will be a major player in the industry.

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Contributors

Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist who’s worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.

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