Can Ohio Finally Get A Sports Betting Bill Done?

  • Ohio did not pass sports betting legislation before their summer legislative break.
  • The bill died in the House, but House Speaker Bob Cupp is optimistic about passage.
  • The Ohio Legislature has typically been optimistic about sports betting, with little to show for it.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State Legislature is currently on break for the summer, but sports betting regulation looks to be a top priority when they resume the legislative session in September.

"I wish we could have gotten it done by June 30," said Sen. Kirk Schuring. "I will be working very diligently with key members of the House, key members of the interested parties and Senate President Matt Huffman to put everything in order so we can take quick action when we come back in September."

Schuring, the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Gaming, was a key driving force behind the original push to get sports betting legislation done.

That push fell short in the House, as the senatorial backers of Ohio sports betting were unable to get their House counterparts on board in time for the bill to pass before the summer break.

However, House Speaker Bob Cupp seems to be fully on board with the plan to give sports betting another look after the Legislature reconvenes.

"Over the summer, we're going to be working on that to try to finalize it so when we come back in September, that's one of the first things we do," said Cupp. "That's our goal and that's our hope."

While sports betting might have struggled in the House before the break, Cupp’s expectation is that the summer work they put into it could result in an easier passage post-break.

This is not the first time that the State Legislature has promised to get sports betting passed, and previous efforts have fallen short.

A history of these efforts goes back to 2018, shortly after the repeal of PASPA, when the Ohio Legislature passed SB 316. This bill does nothing to actually regulate sports betting - in fact, it does nothing at all. It is simply a declaration of intent to enact a bill to allow sports betting.

Here’s the full text of the bill:

Section 1. It is the intent of the General Assembly to develop and enact legislation legalizing sports wagering.

That’s it. There is no Section 2.

In other words, it’s unclear how much trust sports betting fans should put in the words of Cupp and Schuring. While they seem committed to getting this deal done, we’ve seen similarly strong wording fall short before.

At this point, whether or not Ohio ends up with regulated online sportsbooks is up in the air, and observers will have to wait until the end of the summer break to know for sure.