State Sen. Kirk Schuring, one of the leaders in passing the Ohio sports betting bill, said during an interview on a Canton radio station this week that “in the mid to late fall, we will have everything operational.”
Schuring gave other sports betting updates on Canton’s 1480-AM WHBC Morning News with Pam Cook.
As Schuring explained, Gov. Mike DeWine “actually signed that bill into law on the 20th of December, but the Ohio constitution says that after it is signed there’s a 90-day waiting period” so the people can review and veto the law if they so choose.
With no veto, the law took effect on March 21.
Last week, the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) posted a timeline for implementing sports gaming and June 1 is the next key date. That’s when final versions of the operators’ application will be made available. The first application window opens June 15 and closes July 15.
It’s a Long Process in Ohio
So why are Ohio bettors still driving to neighboring states to place wagers on the Reds and Guardians?
Also pursuant to Ohio law, Schuring said, “There’s a rule-making process and (the bill) has to go through the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. That’s something that’s been around for decades and basically provides a legislative veto. If the bureaucracy of government, for some reason, is not following the spirit of the legislation then it can be vetoed by this committee.”
That’s another 90-day process.
“The other thing entering into play is that when we did this it was a tough bill to pass because we had so many competing interests,” Schuring continued during the radio interview. “Now, as most people have recognized, we have the most comprehensive sports gaming law in the United States with casinos, racinos, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, sports franchises, and sports lottery kiosks. All that requires rules.”
Those rules have to cover mundanities such as how the application is going to look, and important stuff, such as whether the applicant has the financial background to back the bets. Rules also encompass the integrity of the program, and geo-fencing, which enforces that people betting online in Ohio are really in Ohio.
“It is complicated,” Schuring said, “but we’re working diligently.”
Universal Start Date in Ohio
Schuring said that he and the Senate president met a couple weeks ago with the executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, Matt Schuler, and the executive director of the Ohio Lottery Commission, Pat McDonald. Schuring said, “they’re putting together a timeline that we all can follow to make sure that we’re moving as expeditiously as possible.”
By law, Ohio sports betting can start no later than Jan. 1, 2023.
“All the interested parties said they want a universal start time,” Schuring added, “so even though some of this could be up and running here in the next few months, it can’t because we have to make sure that all the competitors are starting at the same time.”
And a mid to late fall start would mean the state could capture some of the NFL betting interest.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission may want to start taking bets on that.