Ohio Sports Betting

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Last updated: May 26, 2022

Ohio sports betting is coming by Jan. 1, 2023, under the amended HB 29 that passed both legislative chambers in December and was shortly thereafter signed by Gov. Mike DeWine. The Ohio Casino Control Commission is now tasked with drawing up the regulations to govern the new market.

Sports teams, racinos and casinos will all be preferred for mobile sports betting licenses. Each will get one license with the possibility for a second if the applicant can prove it will improve Ohio financially. The law also calls for the conversion of lottery kiosks to allow for limited sports betting at grocery stores, bars, and restaurants.

To be fair, legal sports betting in Ohio was close to reality in 2020 with bill sponsors from the House and Senate meeting to work out a compromise. But the Senate proposed a few too many changes, and there was too little time to get the work done. Another attempt was made with SB176 in summer 2021 but that bill also didn’t make it far.

Here’s what we know about Ohio sports betting.

What’s happening in Ohio sports betting right now

  • May 26, 2022 – Hopeful Ohio sports bettors will know in under a week just when sports betting will start as the Casino Control Commission will announce the universal start date next Wednesday.
  • May 18, 2022 – The launch date for Ohio sportsbooks will be announced June 1 but should not be much earlier than the mandatory Jan. 1 start date, a spokesperson confirmed, citing the around 3,000 expected applications.
  • May 9, 2022 – The draft applications for suppliers, key employees and standard employees are now open for public comment through 5 pm May 13.
  • May 4, 2022 – The Ohio Casino Control Commission will accept applications for most sports betting licenses beginning June 15 through July 15. A second window will open for the rest of the licenses from July 15 through August 15.
  • April 26, 2022 – The Cleveland Browns signed a partnership with Bally Bet to be an official sports betting partner of the team.
  • April 20, 2022 – Hopeful sportsbook operators could see Ohio applications in the coming days, according to a Casino Control Commission spokesperson. The applications are still just for stakeholder feedback for now, though, as all rules must be approved before applications can be accepted.
  • April 14, 2022 – The Cleveland Cavaliers have one more opportunity to make the NBA Playoffs by beating the Atlanta Hawks in the final Eastern Conference play-in game Friday night. Would-be bettors will have to travel out-of-state to legally get their bets down, though, as Ohio continues the slow crawl to launching sports betting by January 1, 2023.
  • April 6, 2022 – JACK Entertainment launched the free-to-play betJACK app that will let players learn about sports betting while placing wagers with free tokens.
  • March 28, 2022 – The rule making process continues with updated proposed rules on mobile and retail licensing and procedures now open for a second round of public comments through April 8.
  • March 14, 2022 – The Casino Control Commission released the fourth batch of rules on house rules and license-specific proprietor duties for a second round of public comments.
  • March 1, 2022 – The second round of public input on rules that concern Type C licenses for betting through the lottery and on the state’s responsible gambling programs is now open through March 11.
  • February 17, 2022  – The state of Ohio likely missed out on a good chunk of sports betting taxes from losing money line bets as the Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI. That revenue instead went to Ohio’s four border states with legal betting or to illegal offshore operators.
  • February 8, 2022 – Fubo Gaming will partner with the Cleveland Cavaliers as an official mobile sports betting partner. The agreement includes a 3,000-square-foot sports lounge at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Is sports betting legal in Ohio?

Yes, sports betting is legal in Ohio though no sportsbooks have launched yet in the state. A sports betting bill, HB 29, passed both chambers of the Ohio Legislature in December 2021 and was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine on Dec. 22. The law calls for sportsbooks to launch on or before Jan. 1, 2023.

When will sports betting launch in Ohio?

The state is aiming to launch by Jan. 1, 2023. HB 29 designates that date as the deadline for the Ohio Casino Control Commission to launch sports betting in the state. OCCC deputy executive director Rick Anthony indicated to PlayOhio that the commission plans to spend all of 2022 preparing to manage the new industry. Anthony went on to say that he is encouraging relevant parties — sportsbooks, vendors, etc. — not to expect a launch before then.

Sportsbook apps coming to Ohio

HB 29 provides for the possibility of as many as 25 OH online sportsbooks from the outset, and the casinos and sports teams that have those licenses can apply for a second skin if they can demonstrate to the OCCC that the second skin will benefit Ohio on an incremental basis. We don’t yet know for sure the list of apps coming to Ohio, but some sportsbooks seem more likely than others to appear. Here are some of the most probable:

FanDuel

FanDuel Sportsbook already operates in Ohio as a daily fantasy sports provider and has been one of the more aggressive books when it comes to sports betting expansion. The company’s propensity for striking partnership deals with sports teams means that there are several viable candidates to designate FanDuel as their official sports betting partner.

DraftKings

DraftKings also has a longstanding legal presence in Ohio as a DFS company. It is often the first sportsbook to launch in new sports betting states and has been the only available app in several states at various times. Although its relationship with Kambi ended in September 2021 (cutting out JACK Entertainment as a possible partner), DraftKings seems likely to find an Ohio-based cohort when sports betting rolls out.

BetMGM

BetMGM Sportsbook is the sports betting extension of MGM Resorts International, one of the largest casino companies in the world. One of MGM’s properties, MGM Northfield Park, is in Ohio, which paves the way for MGM to apply for licensing in the Buckeye State.

Caesars

Caesars Sportsbook has grown to be a massive casino conglomerate in recent years through its mergers with Eldorado Resorts and William Hill. Because of the Eldorado deal, Caesars now owns Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs, giving it the necessary footprint in Ohio to move forward with sports betting plans.

Hard Rock

Hard Rock Sportsbook is the sports betting arm of the international casino, hotel and restaurant chain of the same name. One of Hard Rock International’s properties is Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati, which means that Hard Rock is well-positioned to launch sports betting when Ohio finally goes live.

JACK Entertainment

JACK Entertainment owns and operates two properties in Cleveland and North Randall and has been an Ohio-based company since its inception in 2009. Although the company itself has no prior sports betting experience, it has a partnership with Kambi, meaning it could get in on sports betting in the state.

Barstool Sportsbook

Barstool Sportsbook is the brash, edgy brand that serves as the sports betting face for Penn National Gaming, one of the larger gambling companies in the US. Penn National also owns the Hollywood Casino brand, which counts four different locations in Ohio as part of its portfolio.

Other possibilities

Ohio sports betting law allows for at least 25 sportsbook apps to launch in the state. Of those 25, 21 will go to 10 sports teams and 11 casino locations in the state. This means there will be other books coming to Ohio, which may include the following:

  • Bally Bet
  • Bet365
  • BetRivers
  • Fox Bet
  • Golden Nugget
  • PointsBet
  • TwinSpires
  • WynnBet

Recent Ohio sports betting news

Ohio sports betting

Ohio Sports Betting Applications Will Open Sooner Than Expected

The application period for Ohio sports betting licensees will open a bit earlier than expected, according to the Casino Control Commission. The regulator laid out a new timeline Wednesday that shows just when certain Ohio sports betting applications will be ready for submission. Unfortunately for those eagerly awaiting the market’s launch, the update did not include […] Read More
Posted on: May 9, 2022 | Regulation Sports Betting | Matthew Waters

Ohio sports betting bills

The main idea of HB 29 is actually unrelated to sports betting and pertains to the issuance of veteran ID cards in Ohio. However, it is the enabling legislation for sports betting in Ohio due to its long list of amendments.

Sen. Kirk Schuring added the amendments after it became apparent that his SB 176 would not receive a hearing in the House of Representatives before the 2021 summer recess. Schuring simply took the infrastructure of the bill and moved it onto HB 29. The essential elements of SB 176, including the licensing framework that appears below, thus became the accepted sports betting law in Ohio, albeit with a few changes.

Here is are the logistics of Ohio online sports betting as per the amended HB 29:

  • There will be 25 mobile Type A licenses. Only casino and sports team licensees can apply for a second skin and must demonstrate a clear economic benefit to the state itself in order to qualify.
  • There will be 40 retail Type B licenses. Those licenses include strict location requirements. No sportsbook is allowed in a county with fewer than 50,000 residents. Only one is permitted in counties with 50,000 to 99,999 residents, and those counties must show that they have 5 million tourists per year or more to qualify. One is allowed in counties with between 100,000 and 399,999 residents unless they have lottery retailer sportsbooks, three in counties with between 400,000 and 799,999 residents, and five in counties with more than 800,000 residents. Preference is also given to professional teams and leagues for those retail licenses.
  • The Type C license will also allow Class D liquor-licensed businesses to have kiosks. Any licensed retailer can apply for approval from the state.
  • Sports betting revenue will be taxed at 10%. Two percent of taxes will go to problem gambling assistance.

HB 29 presents the potential for a much bigger legal betting market than last year’s HB 194. That compromise legislation eventually proposed just one online skin each for the state’s 11 casinos and racinos. It also proposed a slightly lower tax rate at 8%.

Legal betting options in Ohio

Aside from betting on horse racing, there are no legal betting sites that accept sports betting wagers from people in Ohio.

There are illegal offshore sports betting apps that accept bets from people in Ohio. Without holding a license from any US jurisdiction, these offshore websites can’t be counted on to pay out winnings.

The only safe and protected way to bet on sports in the US is to do so with a licensed operator.

Most popular sports to bet on in Ohio

Championships may be few and far between, but Ohio has a long history in professional sports and at least one team in every major league. Fandom in the state is divided between Cincinnati in the southwest and Cleveland in the northeast.

NFL betting in Ohio

Amazingly, the Cleveland Browns played in the league championship game their first 10 years in existence. Yet, the Browns have never won a Super Bowl, which started in 1967.

The last of their four NFL championships was in 1964. Worse, what was previously the Cleveland Browns won two Super Bowls after moving to Baltimore and becoming the Ravens in 1995. The Cleveland Browns started anew in 1999 and have only made the playoffs once since. Despite the struggles, the Dawg Pound remains rabid.

If it makes Browns’ fans feel any better, the cross-state Cincinnati Bengals have never won a Super Bowl. The Bengals were the worst team in the league in 2019, but that got them the top pick in the draft and reason to be optimistic about the future with Heisman-winning QB Joe Burrow at the helm.

NBA betting in Ohio

LeBron James put his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers on the map, winning them the NBA title in 2016. Since King James left, the Cavaliers are a team in transition looking to hit on another top draft pick to build around in the near future.

MLB betting in Ohio

There’s more than 200 years of combined Major League Baseball history in Ohio, which could be considered the birthplace of professional baseball. The Cincinnati Red Stockings became baseball’s first all-professional team in 1869, a year in which they went a perfect 57-0.

A Cincinnati Reds team was a charter member of the National League in 1876. However, that team was kicked out of the league four years later for refusing to agree not to sell beer at games. The modern Cincinnati Reds were formed in 1881 and have won five World Series titles, the latest in 1990.

Fans of the Cleveland Indians don’t feel the least bit bad for their cross-state counterparts. The Indians haven’t won a World series in 72 years. They flirted with breaking the streak for a three-year stretch from 2016 to 2018, including blowing a 3-1 World Series lead in 2016. Behind superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor and up-and-coming pitcher Mike Clevinger, the Indians are still in position to compete, but seem intent on blowing up the team at any time.

NHL betting in Ohio

Columbus technically has the largest population of any city in Ohio, but the only major professional team it has to show for it is the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL. The newcomer to Ohio professional sports, founded in 2000, has yet to kiss the Stanley Cup but did finally win their first playoff series in 2019.

NCAA betting in Ohio

While fandom around the state is divided into regions in the professional sports, most of Ohio can come together to root for  The Ohio State in NCAA football. One of the most prestigious programs in the country, the Buckeyes have won eight national championships since their founding in 1890, including taking the first College Football Playoff National Championship in 2014.

The Cincinnati Bearcats also have made some noise in football of late, coming consecutive 11-win seasons.

The state of Ohio hasn’t had as much success in NCAA basketball for a midwest state. The Buckeyes do have 11 Final Four appearances and an NCAA Tournament Title back in 1960. And the Bearcats have an active streak of nine consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.

Not to be outdone, the Xavier Musketeers make the tournament pretty much every year, though they have yet to make a Final Four. The Dayton Flyers and Miami Redhawks play occasional Cinderella come March Madness.

Ohio and Daily Fantasy Sports

Ohio legalized daily fantasy sports in 2018. The industry-friendly law set a $10,000 maximum annual licensing fee and installed no tax on operators.

Interestingly given the Ohio sports betting debate, the Ohio Casino Control Commission was granted oversight of DFS.

With the legal clarification, major DFS sites such as DraftKingsFanDuelYahoo!, and Fantasy Draft operated in Ohio.

Is horse racing legal in Ohio?

Yes, the Ohio State Racing Commission was created in 1933 after the legislature approved parimutuel wagering on horse racing.

Horses race throughout the year in Ohio, with thoroughbred racing at tracks in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Youngstown. Quarter horse races and harness racing also takes place in Ohio.

Seven of the 11 casinos in Ohio are racinos on the site of tracks with live horse racing.

Online horse betting is allowed in Ohio through sites such as TVG, TwinSpires and BetAmerica.

Ohio sports betting timeline

2021

With new legislators, like State Sen. Kirk Schuring, taking up the cause of passing an OH sports betting bill, the process essentially started over again in Ohio.

Schuring introduced his own sports betting bill, SB 176, in May 2021. The bill passed through the Senate after about a month of discussion, but its momentum stalled when it reached the House.

Schuring realized that the chance of a hearing for SB 176 in the House before the summer 2021 recess was very low, so he took the guts of the bill and grafted them onto an unrelated measure, HB 29, that had a better opportunity to move forward.

After several months of debate, HB 29 passed through the House and Senate with several amendments in place to allow sports betting. Although several of the particulars of the bill changed from Schuring’s initial vision, the basic shape of SB 176 was signed by DeWine in late December.

2020

After multiple delays, the House Finance Committee finally advanced an Ohio sports betting bill on its ninth hearing. The House promptly passed the bill a day later, prior to its summer recess.

Rep. Dave Greenspan said that he planned to reach out to Senate sponsor Sen. John Eklund to discuss the differences between their bills over the summer with the hope of coming into the fall session in September ready to pass the legislation.

In addition to oversight, the key differences between the bills are the tax rate (House 10%, Senate 6.25%), that the House bill allows veterans’ and fraternal organizations to have sports betting while the Senate bill limits it to state casinos and racinos, and that all proceeds from sports betting go to education in the House version while the Senate places the revenue in the general fund.

Unfortunately, neither bill nor the legislative terms of Greenspan and Eklund survived beyond the 2020 legislative session. The two lame duck lawmakers attempted to pass the bill through the Senate in the waning days after the November 2020 election, but could not get enough votes together.

2019

Eklund and Greenspan introduced their bills, then spent most of the year arguing in the press on the merits of each regulator and building a coalition of support.

H 194 got support from the Legislative Service Commission and key Sen. William Coley, who served as president of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States. But S 111 got most important supporter of all in Gov. Mike DeWine, the guy who needs to sign off on the legislation.

The House Finance Committee held eight hearings on the bill, where really the only thing figured out was that the bill would not include an official league data mandate. The Senate held one hearing, content to wait until the House bill comes over.

Ohio sports betting FAQ

Who oversees legal sports betting in Ohio?

The Ohio Casino Control Commission oversees all gambling in the state and as such will also manage and regulate the incoming legal sports betting market.

Will mobile OH sports betting be allowed?

Yes. The 2021 law calls for legal online sports betting with remote registration.

There are some sports betting websites that say they accept bets from the United States. Are those legal options?

No. Any website that says it takes wagers from anywhere in the United States is operating illegally. These sites offer no protection to people who bet with them. All US sportsbooks are licensed at the state level.

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