Sports bettors and prospective operators in the State of Ohio will have to wait a little longer for the launch of the regulated market, as the Bill introducing such changes is delayed in the State Senate.
Robert R Cupp, the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, ‘put the brakes’ on the bill in order to conduct his own hearing into the issue of regulating sports wagering in the state.
“I’m very disappointed, we definitely wanted to get this done by June 30,” said Republican State Senator Niraj Antani of Montgomery County, Ohio.
“It’s very unfortunate that we haven’t but we all need to make a concerted effort over the summer to get this done during September when we get back into session.”
Senator Antani had previously invited constituents to ‘come to my office and yell at me’, if the bill legalising and regulating the online sports betting market in the Midwestern state had not been passed by 30 June, with the Bill having first been introduced on 6 May after a near two-year legislative process.
Many casino and racetrack managers in the state, in addition to gamblers and sports enthusiasts, were annoyed and confused at the delay to the Bill, which had been attached to a ‘sure to pass’ war veteran’s ID bill.
Passage of the Act would also provide a much needed boost to Ohio’s struggling gambling sector, which like many others was adversely affected by the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sponsors of the legislation had hoped for the licencing window for applicants to open on 1 January, with the first licences awarded no later than 1 April. As a result of the delay of the Bill this process will also be set back, and the new dates are as yet unconfirmed.
“Sitting is where they stand right now,’ said Jeff Edlestein, a betting and gaming industry analyst.
“The House Speaker is in no rush to get this done until he has a chance to set up his own committees, it looks like, after the Senate went through three plus months of preliminary hearings.”
He added: “Do the math, push it back three or four months – I’m assuming they’re going to have to push the start back three or four months. We were talking a month ago about ‘we might be able to bet on football this year’.
“We will not be betting on football this year, hopefully, maybe, we will be betting on football this year.”
Discussing developments in the US state last month, the hosts of the Legal Sports Report highlighted how Ohio’s legislators are ‘taking a very slow, cautious approach, to what they believe is going to take time to finish their bill and get registrations and applications set up’.
Source – News 5 Cleveland