Ohio Senate Majority Leader Kirk Schuring, one of the leading lawmakers behind the push to grant legal status to sports betting in the Buckeye State, is quite optimistic about its chances. Schuring, a Republican from Canton, said in a recent interview that that a conference committee could meet sooner than later to start work on a final bill on sports betting that would allow the state’s residents to start placing wagers on their favorite sports event and team as early as next spring.
According to the Republican Ohio Senate Majority Leader, the conference committee could hammer out a final bill on sports betting legalization and send it to Gov. Mike DeWine as soon as early next week. He also revealed that Senate President Matt Huffman (a Republican from Lima) is making attempts to meet with Speaker of the House Bob Cupp (a Republican from Lima) to identify what the House really wants in the final sports betting bill. In case that meeting takes place, the conference committee would start working on a bill that would need approval from both chambers.
Speaking on the topic, Schuring said, “I’m really looking forward to the meeting this week with Speaker Cupp. I know he’s had meetings with some of his members, particularly the members from the conference committee, and so, we’re hoping we’re reaching a point of critical mass where we can finally get this done.”
In late June, the Ohio Senate passed a standalone gaming bill and attached an amended version of the bill to House Bill 29, which would allow up to 40 retail sportsbooks to operate across the state. In addition, it would pave way for nearly two dozen mobile sports betting licenses while also granting certain liquor license holders the permission to operate sports betting kiosks inside their properties.
As per the bill, retail sportsbooks must not be located in a county with less than 100,000 residents. Counties with more than 400,000 and 800,000 residents can get up to three and five brick-&-mortar facilities, respectively.
The sports betting is expected to be up and running by or around the end of April 2022. It is interesting to note here that laws in Ohio don’t take effect until ninety days after they get the governor’s signature. So a bill signed in November this year wouldn’t officially take effect until February next year. Implementing regulations pertaining to sports betting could take some more days.