COLUMBUS, Ohio — The stage is set for Sunday’s NFL playoff showdown between your Cleveland Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are a 10-point favorite in the divisional round matchup, odds that a lot of Browns fans might take if sports betting in Ohio was an option. But nearly three years after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for sports betting in states essentially outside of Nevada, Ohio still doesn’t have it.
Of the surrounding states, only Kentucky doesn’t have sports betting, but they are reportedly close. Ohio had competing bills in the house and senate last year that would have cleared the way for sports betting at the state’s four casinos and seven racinos.
There were differences on oversight and other issues that the legislature was unable to reconcile before their session ended last year.
So right now the only legal option Browns fans have to place a bet is to take a drive roughly an hour east to Pennsylvania, and once their phone recognizes they're in the Keystone state, place a bet on the game on one of the state’s mobile sports betting sites before returning west for kickoff. It's something Governor DeWine told News 5 they know people are doing, and it's money he would like to stay here.
“We have people who are betting all the time in Ohio online and they're going to do this and so allowing us to keep some of this money for education in the state seems to me to make sense,” DeWine said.
Failure to act before the end of the legislative session in December means starting over with a new legislature and three of the primary sponsors of the old legislation no longer in elective office. Still, Governor DeWine said he's hopeful 2021 will be the year.
“There will be sports betting coming to Ohio I suspect this year,” he said.