Ohio Throws ‘Hail Mary’ Attempt to Move Sports Betting Forward

Ohio is one step closer to legalizing sports betting in the Buckeye State. On Tuesday, lawmakers decided the number of skins Ohio would offer to sports betting companies in a long process to get betting off the ground finally.

It allows the 11 casinos and racinos to offer in-person sports betting and online betting to one sports betting partner per location. Some argue that a limited number of sportsbooks operating in the state could limit competition, but 11 skins should be enough to drive revenue still and bring a competitive market.

Lawmakers hope to vote on the amendment before 2020 to continue sports betting discussions in 2021. With just three weeks left in the year, lawmakers are scrambling to get things moving, especially with three members of congress testing positive for coronavirus.

Getting a Bill Passed this Year

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The November election saw a shakeup in Ohio’s state government as some sports betting backers were voted out of the office and will no longer support the sports betting bill after the 2020 sessions are over.

Sen. John Eklund, the biggest supporter of Ohio sports betting, is out of office after this year due to term limits. Sen. Sean O’Brien and Rep. Dave Greenspan both lost their 2020 campaigns are were voted out. The three have been key backers of Ohio sports betting, and now it leaves a hole at the top to continue to push sports betting legalization forward.

Rep. Brigid Kelly is the final returnee of the main sports betting backers and will need to carry the load moving forward if the Buckeye State wants to pass sports betting. These last few weeks are huge for the state to get skins approved before 2021. This will give Kelly and sports betting momentum into next year and bring more support for the bill passed next year.

Potential Sportsbook to Enter

With 11 casinos and racinos operating in the state, there is a good chance we can have an idea of what sportsbooks will be entering the Ohio betting market if the state can pass skins, and ultimately a sports betting bill within the next year.

BetMGM would most likely be one of the first sportsbooks to enter the Ohio sports betting market. MGM Northfield Park is just outside Cleveland and will use BetMGM as the sportsbook of choice. BetMGM could become a big player in Ohio if the state can enter in a timely fashion.

FanDuel Sportsbook
Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center is operated by Boyd Gaming and has a partnership with FanDuel. Boyd holds a 5% share in FanDuel, so it is most likely that the online sportsbook will be operating near the Cincinnati area when it’s all said and done.

Barstool Sportsbook
Barstool Sportsbook is the new kid on the block but will become a huge player in the Ohio betting market if it launches. Penn National, which owns a stake in Barstool, operates four casinos in the Buckeye State, so there is no doubt that Barstool Sportsbook will be in Ohio and could be the state’s biggest sportsbook.

William Hill
William Hill is another name to expect to enter Ohio when the time comes. Caesars Entertainment acquired the U.K. betting operator earlier this year. The company now runs all off Caesars sportsbooks across the U.S. Caesars also own Scioto Downs Racino, which will most likely see a William Hill Sportsbook at some point in the future.

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