Sen. Kirk Schuring can breath easy at last as Ohio sports betting finally gets the legal go ahead. After previous sports betting bills SB 111 and HB 194 ran out of time, Schuring was bullish on getting the latest version (SB 176) across the line in 2021. And on December 22nd there was an early Christmas present for the Ohio senator. Governor Mike DeWine signed the bill into law paving the way for the launch of legal sports betting in Ohio.


Schuring’s Key Role

A huge amount of credit has to go to Schuring. He has worked relentlessly to bring this legislation to life and halt the flow of Ohio tax dollars across state borders. The Buckeye State is right in the middle of legal betting in the US, with Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia all legalized. Pennsylvania and West Virginia have even gone a step further and are two of the states where online casinos are completely legal. Ohio has some catching up to do.

Schuring has managed the often testing negotiations between interests with aplomb. His upbeat attitude and positivity has played a big part in navigating the often politically treacherous territory that is US sports betting regulation. And in the end, as is typical of the man, he had nothing but good things to say about all parties involved.


Long Road To Legalization

The road to licensing does tend to be a rocky and at times slow one. Prior to the Senate passing SB 176 in June 2021, the Select Committee on Gaming had 15 hearings concerning the matter. In the end, it took the Senate adding SB 176 to HB 29 in order to get sports betting legalized. The House eventually passed HB 29 after conference committee in early Dec 2021.

The new bill was signed into law on December 22nd by Gov. Mike DeWine. DeWine was supportive of sports betting in the Buckeye state throughout the legislative process. As mentioned, this no doubt is related to the losses in Ohio tax revenues to border states already offering sports betting services.


How Ohio Sports Betting Will Work

The bill outlines who is eligible for licenses and how many licenses each applicant can apply for. It stipulates the types of bets allowed, taxation rules for operators as well as other legalities. Interestingly, it also set a deadline for implementation and launch. Ohio sports betting must start by January 1st, 2023. It can start on an earlier date set by the regulator, expected to be no earlier than July 1st, 2022.

The obvious candidate for a start date is September for the kickoff of the NFL season. It remains to be seen if all the pieces can be put in place by then.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission which was created in 2011 will oversee the new sports betting industry in addition to the casinos it already regulates. The Commission has seven commissioners appointed by the Governor of Ohio and receives advice and the consent of the Senate.

So one thing for sure is sports betting will be in Ohio for some part of the 2022 NFL season. The question is, will it be here by NFL kickoff in early September? If Schuring is involved, you would think the answer is likely to be yes.