The Ohio legislature is considering expanding legal sports betting in the state through two bills: SB111 and HB 194. The General Government And Agency Review Committee in the Ohia Senate heard around ten minutes of discussion on the bill.
Sponsors John Eklund and Sean O’Brien spoke at the discussion.
“All I can say at this time is more to follow,” Eklund stated. “We welcome the opportunity to have another hearing at this point, Chairman because there are some folks, I think, some of whom have been participants in this exercise we’ve been on for the last, boy, going on 14 months, who have some very, very significant and useful things for the committee to hear.”
The Ohio legislature has only a limited amount of time to legalize sports betting in the state, only until the end of the year. Sean O’Brien lost his re-election bid, while Eklund is set to retire from his final term come January.
Ohio’s uncertain stance on the trajectory of their legal sports betting industry comes when multiple bordering and neighboring states have made tremendous headway within the sports betting market.
Indiana continues to experience big business in Cincinnati’s sports betting market. Michigan also plans to launch a mobile sports betting market in their jurisdiction and five other states with 2020 gambling ballot measures.
Moreover, in Pennsylvania, BetMGM, in a press release, announced it is opening an online casino within the state. The online casino will feature 140 casino and slots games and is pursuing regulatory approval for online legal sports betting in the Keystone State.
A week ago, MGM sealed a pact with the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL team, laying the groundwork for online gambling expansion within the next week. For those who don’t live in PA or MI and who don’t want to wait for the legal yellow tape to clear, online mobile sportsbooks provide legal sports betting right now.
So maybe developments in PA and MI will push the Ohio legislature to accept sports betting within their state and get a share of the market. As it stands, the Ohio gambling industry in general needs a big boost.
Since early November, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has enforced a 10 PM to 5 AM curfew to flatten the curve on coronavirus cases and deaths – now in the ballpark of 7,000 fatalities. Since that time, statewide gambling revenue has been down 17% from last year.