Ohio Sports Betting

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Ohio lawmakers released a draft sports betting bill on May 6, 2021, which is a major step forward to bring Ohio sports betting to life. Senate Committee hearings will be held on May 12, to hash out more details. It is unclear the position of the Ohio House or Governor Mike Dewine. 

A new bill would need to move through the Ohio General Assembly, which consists of both the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate. Then, regulators would need to create sports betting rules—as well as receive and approve licenses—before any sports betting apps can launch.

That means legal online sports betting in Ohio is still months away. Most optimistically, Ohio sports betting would launch in January 2022.

Ohio Sports Betting Recent Updates

  • May 12, 2021:

    The Ohio Select Committee on Gaming is set to hold a conference hearing on May 12 to discuss the details of the newly released Ohio sports betting bill, which came in at 252 pages long.

  • May 6, 2021:

    On Thursday, May 6, 2021, the Ohio State Senate released a draft sports betting bill. State lawmakers promised the draft, and delivered on their promise, to sports bettors across Ohio who are eager to start wagering in January 2022.

  • April 20, 2021:

    State Senator Schuring and Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman are scheduled to meet on proposed legislation. If the two can agree on the details of the proposal, it would become a new sports betting bill. It’s safe to assume that the bill would make it through the Ohio General Assembly and to the desk of Governor Mike DeWine (R).

    Sen. Schuring is chairman of the Select Committee on Gaming, which has heard from over 50 witnesses across eight hearings. He said he’s compiled “almost 200 bullet points” based on what those witnesses—who represent a variety of interests—think Ohio sports betting legislation should entail.

  • March 31, 2021:

    In early March 2021, the Governor told reporters to expect legal sports betting in Ohio this year. Assuming Sen. Schuring’s bill passes, the Governor’s signature looks all but certain.

  • March 29, 2021:

    Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced at a press conference that Ohio Sports betting would be legal soon.

Which Sports Betting Sites Might Come To Ohio?

There’s no word about how the state will grant access to online sports betting licenses. But we feel confident that these sportsbook will have access to Ohio based on their existing presence in the state:

SportsbookDetails On Ohio Market Access
William HillWilliam Hill is owned by Caesars Entertainment, which owns and operates Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs.
BetMGMMGM Resorts partnered with Boyd Gaming for market access, which operates Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center. But MGM also owns MGM Northfield Park, so BetMGM would have access through that property.
WynnBETWynnBET announced early market access in Ohio on January 21, 2021, although the nature of that deal is unknown.
Barstool SportsbookBarstool Sports is owned by Penn National, which operates four of Ohio’s Hollywood Casinos: Hollywood Casino Columbus, Hollywood Casino Toledo, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course
Hard Rock SportsbookHard Rock Casino Cincinnati opens up market access for Hard Rock Sportsbook, which is available in Iowa & New Jersey.
TwinSpiresFormerly BetAmerica, TwinSpires is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated, which owns 50% of Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon, OH.

We can also safely assume that the following online sportsbooks will come to Ohio because they’ve launched in most states with legal sports betting:

DraftKings and FanDuel will also launch their famous Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) platforms, as DFS legalization is expected as part of the overall online sports betting legalization.

How To Place A Bet In Ohio

Details are also relatively sparse about how sports bettors will eventually be able to place wagers. There are two major ways in which this can turn out: online or in-person registration.

Because there are 11 retail casinos currently in Ohio, the state legislature may require wagerers to register in-person at partnered casinos before they can place a bet using a mobile sportsbook app. This would follow the precedent set by states like Illinois. Although in reality, Illinois ended up suspending the in-person registration requirement through most of 2020 and 2021. 

However, it’s also possible that the legislature will craft legal sports betting laws to allow for online-only registration, which would be much more convenient for sports bettors. With this model, wagerers would be able to download and register through the app from their couches.

Let’s break down the hypothetical registration process if this ends up being the case.

Download The App

iPhone users will be able to download their favorite sportsbook right from the App Store. Prior to March 2021, Google Play Store didn’t allow any gambling apps on its platform. However, it has since revised its policy. Currently, gambling apps are approved on a case-by-case basis, so Android users can check the Google Play store platform or go directly to the website of their sportsbook-of-choice.

After downloading the app, the installation will begin automatically regardless of the platform used. The apps will also likely install geolocation software as a requirement of sports betting legislation. All other states require geolocation software to be installed, which will prevent sports bettors from placing wagers outside Ohio state lines.

Register For Sportsbook

Next, players will be required to register for their choice sportsbook by providing some pieces of personal information. This may include details like their Social Security number, physical address, and date of birth. All of this can be used to verify their identity and make sure they are actually Ohio residents.

Fund The Account

After downloading and registering for a sportsbook, players will be able to fund their sports betting accounts using a variety of methods. The best deposit methods are PayPal and online bank transfer. Credit card deposits usually get rejected. If they go through, the transaction is usually considered a cash advance, which comes with fees.

Ohio sports betting apps will likely offer the option to deposit and withdraw in cash at the partnering brick-and-mortar casino locations as well.

Place Bets

After funding their accounts, players will be able to place wagers as they please. It’s also a good idea to check for any opening bonuses that may apply in your case depending on the sportsbook you choose to download.

Just be sure to check the terms and conditions, as most opening bonuses have a least a few. For example, you may need to claim your bonus within a week of opening your account.

Ohio Legal Sportsbooks

Ultimately, the path to sports betting legalization in Ohio is likely to take some time, even at this point. But if you’re a sports bettor really chomping at the bit and wanting to place wagers, it’ll still pay to wait for legal sports betting instead of using an offshore or illegal betting site.

Simply put, illegal betting sites are not worth the risk. They have subpar digital security, and any personal information you provide will be highly vulnerable as well. Furthermore, nothing is stopping an offshore betting site from taking any money you provide to your account. There won’t even be a regulatory body to appeal to because, technically, you’d be breaking the law.

Even worse, most offshore betting sites don’t include player-friendly odds or excellent promotions. All in all, it’s much better to wait for legalization, even if it’ll take some more time.

Fully licensed and regulated sportsbooks provide better sports betting experiences for their users, as well as much better digital security. Furthermore, legal sportsbooks are regulated by certain authoritative bodies, which can provide you with a path to reconciliation if you have a problem with your sportsbook at any point.

Ohio Sports Betting Revenue

At this point, it’s tough to estimate the kind of revenue that the Ohio state government might enjoy should they decide to legalize sports betting. That being said, we can look at states that already have legal sportsbook industries, as well as Ohio’s own casino revenue, to draw some early conclusions.

For example, Ohio’s casino industry generated nearly $172 million in gambling revenue in August alone. That’s a huge amount of profit from a single industry. Furthermore, that revenue is only from casino games and does not include racing or sports betting.

We can also look at states like New Jersey, which has well-developed sports betting industries. In the month of November 2020, the sports betting industry alone generated $50 million of revenue for the state.

All in all, it’s clear that Ohio’s future sports betting industry has the potential to provide the state government with a lot of funding power should it continue to proceed quickly.

How Ohio Compares To Other States

Ohio is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to gambling overall. It has 11 brick-and-mortar casinos, and there are over 18,000 video gaming and slot machine options spread throughout them. Additionally, players can place bets on horse races at those casinos and through using online apps like TVG and TwinSpires.

Therefore, it’s tempting to say that Ohio is a relatively laissez-faire state when it comes to gambling. But the state government has been extremely slow when it comes to legalizing sports betting, poker outside of casinos, and other gaming activities.

This is likely because Ohio’s casino scene is more complex than you might think. There are so many casinos that there’s actually a little over-saturation for this market. Several of these casinos may close down over the next few years due to the abundance of competition.

Because of this, it’s more accurate to say that Ohio has an overdeveloped gaming industry in some areas and underdeveloped gaming industry in others. Perhaps this is why the state government is taking so long to legalize another form of gambling. They may not want a repeat of the casino issue, which is taking many years to resolve by itself.

But it’s also good that Ohio’s state government is not necessarily against gambling expansions in the future. Several other states are struggling with relatively conservative attitudes toward gaming, such as California, and may not allow for legal sports betting even over the next few years.

Ohio Betting Successes And Failures

Ohio Sports Betting Success

Ohio doesn’t currently have any sports betting successes to speak of because no version of the activity is legal, even in the state’s retail casinos. But State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R), Governor Mike DeWine (R), and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been making a successful push for sports betting throughout the beginning of 2021.

Where Could Ohio Improve Online Gambling?

Naturally, Ohio could improve its online gambling industry in multiple ways. For starters, it could allow online slots and casino games (because it does not currently allow any online gambling save for horse race betting).

Ohio could also launch online sports betting quickly, even if it takes some time for retail sportsbooks to set up shop. Depending on the provisions outlined in future sports betting legislation, it might take a little while for retail sportsbooks to get their ducks in a row at partnered casinos.

To accelerate the launch for its residents, Ohio could allow mobile sportsbooks to start ahead of their retail locations. This would allow players to begin placing wagers up to several months earlier than they would if they had to wait for retail sportsbooks to also be ready for guests.

Legalization Efforts In Ohio

Although Ohio’s legislators began discussing possible sports betting legalization even a couple of weeks before the Supreme Court struck down PASPA, it’s taken years more to make significant progress on an Ohio sports betting bill

On May 6, 2021, Ohio state lawmakers released a draft sports betting bill to eagerly awaiting Ohio sports bettors and industry insiders. The 252-page bill provides for two types of sports betting licenses.

License A will permit existing casinos and racinos to offer online sports betting. There will be no more than 20 licenses, or skins, operating under License A’s provisions. Casinos and racinos will not be permitted to offer retail sportsbooks on-site.

License B will permit professional sports teams to offer retail sports betting on-site, with a focus on prop bets. Again, up to 20 type B licenses will be allowed.

With 11 casinos and 9 professional teams in Ohio, there could be numerous operators in the state once the market settles.

Although the draft bill stated that collegiate wagers will be allowed, it is unclear what restrictions will be placed on college wagers. That will be determined by the Ohio Casino Commission.

It does look, though, that apps won’t launch until January 2022. In fact, the draft bill prohibits the launch of any apps before January 1, which means bettors will miss the entire fall football season but should be able to place wagers on the playoffs and Super Bowl.

The Connecticut Lottery will also offer a sports betting pool, which seems to combine features of sports betting and lottery.

Timeline Of Ohio Sports Betting

  • 2018 – The Supreme Court calls PASPA unconstitutional and Ohio legislators start discussing a potential legal sports betting bill
  • November 2020 – HB 194 is brought to Columbus, the Ohio State capital, and discussion begins almost immediately
  • January 2021 – Senate President Matt Huffman creates the Select Committee on Gaming, which will be comprised of seven members, including both Republicans and Democrats
  • Feb 2021 – Representative Kelly announces her intention to support sports betting legalization in Ohio
  • March 2021 – Governor Mike DeWine tells reporters that Ohio bettors can expect legal sports betting legalization in 2021.
  • April 2021 – State Senator Kirk Schuring expresses confidence that a sports betting bill will be introduced this month or early May.
  • May 2021 – The Ohio Select Committee on Gaming released a draft 252 page Ohio sports betting bill and scheduled a hearing for May 12, 2021.

Ohio Teams

Ohio may not have any sports betting at this time, but there’s certainly a market for the future industry. Although there are other states with many more professional sports franchises to boast about, Ohio does have a couple of professional sports teams with dedicated fans.

Ohio Professional Sports Teams

Ohio’s most famous professional leagues are spread across the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL. The famous teams to speak of are:

  • The Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, both NFL teams
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers, an NBA team
  • The Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds, both MLB teams
  • The Columbus blue jackets, and NHL franchise

Therefore, Ohio is one of the few states the has all four major sports leagues represented by their own home teams. These teams compete every year in major tournaments and competitions. Each of the above teams also has a small army of dedicated fans that would provide instantaneous sports betting revenue to the state government when sports betting is finally legalized.

Ohio College Sports Teams

Ohio is not as well known for its collegiate sports teams in any capacity. This being said, the state does have a few major colleges with collegiate teams for baseball, basketball, and football, including Ohio State and Bowling Green State University.

But many states that have legalized sports betting have also implemented restrictions on collegiate bets for their home teams. For example, New Jersey doesn’t allow any collegiate sports bets whatsoever if the games take place within the state or if their team is playing.

There’s been no word as to the contents of HB 194 and what it says about collegiate sports betting, nor what Ohio legislators think is appropriate for their future sports betting market. Therefore, time will tell whether collegiate sports betting is allowed in Ohio at all, or if it is totally restricted as it is in many other legal states.

Other Sports To Bet On In Ohio

In addition to major sports franchises and leagues, sports bettors in Ohio will be able to place wagers on other activities like darts, NASCAR, and even eSports depending on the sportsbook operator they use. Many top sports bettors have betting markets for these activities and more, especially DraftKings and FanDuel.

Ohio Sports Betting FAQs

Is Online Sports Betting Legal In Ohio?

No, online and in-person sports betting is currently illegal in Ohio. However, state lawmakers have made major headways in sports betting legalization, and a legal sports betting market in Ohio is expected for late 2021.

When will Ohio have legal sports betting?

Late 2021. A new Ohio sports betting bill is expected to be introduced in late April or early May 2021. It will then need to pass the Ohio General Assembly and get signed by the Governor. Upon passage, Ohio regulators will need to hammer out rules and regulations, approve licenses, then green light sports betting launch. That means September 2021 would be extremely optimistic, but legal sports betting in Ohio will likely happen before Super Bowl 2022.

Will I need to be an Ohio resident to bet online on Ohio?

No, you will not need to be an Ohio resident to bet online in Ohio. When legal online sportsbooks launch in Ohio, the requirement will be that you’re at least 21 years old and physically located within state lines. 

How old will I have to be to bet in Ohio?

You will most likely need to be 21 years of age or older, as this is the required age found in other legal states throughout the country. It’s also how old you need to be to visit any of Ohio’s retail casinos, which will more than likely be partnered with the sportsbook operators who get licenses.

What sports and events will I be able to bet on in Ohio?

When Ohio sports betting launches, you will be able to bet on all professional-level domestic and international team sports, individual sports, and college sports. However, Ohio may put restrictions on betting on college sports, such as restricting bets on in-state college teams or banning prop bets on all college sports.

Who Regulates Online Sportsbook Apps In Ohio?

The organization to be in charge of the Ohio sports betting industry has not yet been announced. But it’s likely that the Ohio Casino Control Commission, which already regulates the active casinos in the state, will either regulate sports betting as well or have a hand in the formation of the committee responsible for overseeing sports betting.

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber is the Managing Editor of Gaming Today. She writes for a variety of websites in diverse industries, including gaming and travel and is a fan of football (not soccer) and Gaelic sports.

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