Will Ohio Legalize Sports Betting in 2021? The Crucial Details

Ohio Sports Betting 2021
  • Ohio’s 2020 sports betting legislation was close to passing but ultimately stalled in the eleventh hour
  • Potential revenue generated from sports betting is the biggest motivator
  • Sportsbooks eager to enter the state may tip the scales in the effort for 2021 legalization

Legislative proposals haven’t had the smoothest start to the year, but when it comes time to submit Ohio‘s bid to legalize sports betting, what chance does it have? 

Only a few months ago, lawmakers were close to passing the bill, which has already seen Pennsylvania and West Virginia thrive in the sports betting community. However, Ohio is treading water, and it hasn’t been made easier by recent election results. 

The Senate and House couldn’t agree on the wagering bill, which faces more roadblocks in 2021. Supporters of the wagering bill in Ohio will again push for its legislature this year but will do so with many new and challenging obstacles to overcome. 

Not only has the bill been put on the backburner, but three of its leading supporters are also no longer in office. Senator Sean O’Brien lost his re-election bid to Sandra O’Brien, and Senator John Eklund’s time in office expired due to limits. 

The only sponsor remaining is Democrat Brigid Kelly, who earlier in 2020, expressed excitement about legalized sports betting in the Buckeye state. 

“We know the number of states who are legalizing sports betting just continues to increase, and so we want to make sure that if folks in Ohio want to play, they can do it here,” Kelly said.

Unfortunately for Ohioans, Kelly stated the process would need to be passed in 2020; otherwise, they would need to start the process again. 

We need to work in order to make sure that we can legalize sports betting… preferably before the end of this General Assembly… otherwise, we’ll have to start the process all over again.

What’s Next For Ohio Sports Betting? 

There couldn’t be a worse time to push for sports betting legislation in Ohio due to the pandemic’s effects. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for those wanting to place wagers legally. 

We already know Ohio residents are betting on sports, so making it legal is the likely and best way forward in this situation. There has been some criticism from opponents of the bill about sports betting culture. However, revenue generated could help the state’s budget shortfall, which sits around $2 billion.

Ohio looks to push forward on the momentum gained by its neighboring states, which could pass legal mobile betting in 2021. Nearby states, Michigan, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Indiana already have legal sports betting. 

Ohio residents could cross state lines to place a bet, but the state wants more than that. They want 2021 to be a defining year in the history of Ohio sports betting, and it’s not without the realm of possibility. 

Sportsbooks Eager to Enter Ohio May Tip the Scales 

There has also been a push from Draftkings Sportsbook, MGM, FanDuel, and other leading gaming operators. They all want a slice of the Ohio sports betting market, so pressure put on lawmakers from these establishments could tip the scales. 

It was painstakingly close to passing the legislature in 2020, and the momentum used from that effort could carry over to 2021. Of all the states hoping to legalize sports betting, Ohio is at the top of the market.

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