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Sports betting will launch in Ohio one minute into 2023.

Will you be awake to bet the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff? Because you just know No. 4 Ohio State is taking down No. 1 Georgia on New Year’s Eve. You’ll already be celebrating, so you might as well try to monetize your joy.

(And if somehow you get robbed, there’s always the Bengals’ playoff run to speculate upon if you’re from the southern end of the state).

Whatever happens, legal sports betting is soon coming to Ohio and the state is expected to send bets pouring into sportsbooks and tax dollars flowing into state coffers.

So have fun, know your limits, bet responsibly, and get all the facts about betting on sports in Ohio before it launches at 12:01 a.m., Jan. 1.

Follow the Gaming Today primer for all you need to get started and have fun.

How To Start Betting on Sports in Ohio

Download a Legal Ohio Sports Betting App

Ohio is expected to feature dozens of larger national and smaller regional sports betting apps. It shouldn’t be hard to find one or a few that you want to patronize. Companies like BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel are certain to offer lucrative sign-up bonuses to earn your business. Shop around.

All of these companies’ apps are available on Android and iOS download markets, the Google Play Store, and the App Store, respectively.
The apps can also be downloaded from the sportsbooks’ websites.

Installation begins automatically, like any other app. Baked inside them will be geolocation software that will ensure that all those attempting to make bets on Ohio sports betting apps are actually in Ohio.

Create an Account

Registering for an Ohio sports betting app account requires providing some personal information, like a Social Security number and address. Don’t look at this as an invasion of privacy. Consider it a safeguard to prevent any future problems with hackers or fraudsters attempting to do bad things. Licensed sports betting companies in Ohio have been put through rigorous screening processes to set up shop in the state. That’s one huge reason to patronize them instead of illegal offshore sports betting apps.

Fund the Account

New sports bettors can add funds to their sportsbook accounts in a multitude of ways.

The quickest and generally most seamless are with PayPal and online bank transfers. Many credit card deposit attempts are still rejected by the issuing bank and come with fees if they do work, as they are considered cash advances.

Ohio sports betting apps with a retail sports betting partner are likely to offer an option of signing up in person, if that makes you more comfortable. Withdrawals can be done in person too, if the bettor doesn’t prefer a digital transfer of funds in or out of their account.

Place Bets

Money in the account, opinions on the Buckeyes game. Ohio sports bettors are almost ready to go. And they are at this point. The next savvy step, though, is to check for any offers and punch in the promo code to take advantage of any free bets or deposit matches. Make sure you check the terms and conditions, as not to have any unhappy surprises.

Can I Bet On College Sports In Ohio?

Absolutely. Even though Ohio has two NFL and MLB teams, the NBA and NHL, it would not have made much sense to legalize sports betting and make the Buckeyes and Bearcats off-limits, right?

Ohio is somewhat lucky in this regard. Almost half of the 36 jurisdictions that have legalized sports betting have implemented some sort of limitations on betting on in-state teams or college sports in general.

Ohioans have no such barriers, with game bets and player proposition bets allowed. Feel free to wager on that Buckeyes quarterback for the Heisman Trophy.

Best Ohio Sports Betting Promo Offers

Here is a list of some of Ohio’s top sportsbooks and their prelaunch bonus offers. Offers are bound to change as of Jan. 1

Ohio Sportsbook 📱Why We Like It⭐️Ohio Bonus Offer 💰
DraftKings OhioBest overall betting experienceClaim $200 in bet credit
+ 20% Deposit Match up to $1,000
Caesars OhioBest for retail bettorsClaim $100 in bet credit
+ chance to win Cavs tickets
BetMGM OhioBest for new bettorsClaim $200 in bet credit
FanDuel OhioBest for iOS & Android appClaim $100 in bet credit
+ 3 free months of NBA League Pass
Bet365 OhioBest welcome offerClaim $100 in bet credit
+ bet $1 and get $200 on launch
PointsBet OhioBest for exotic betsClaim $700 in bet credits
Betfred OhioBest for niche sports marketsClaim $20 Bonus Bet on launch day
+ up to $1,111 in bet credits

How Should I Choose a Sportsbook in Ohio?

Picking a sportsbook is no different than deciding what kind of shoe you want to wear, car you want to drive, or where you buy your groceries.

It has to fit you. Sportsbooks will come at you with different marketing styles and ad campaigns and attitudes.

You might choose a brand like Barstool because you’re familiar with their social media personalities, or DraftKings or FanDuel because you’ve played fantasy sports with them and want something familiar.

Preferences are great, but it’s wise to shop like you would for those shoes or groceries and take advantage of the money offers sportsbooks will send your way, especially when a state is launching sports betting, as Ohio will on Jan. 1, 2023.

Remember, you can close a sports betting account at any time or draw down your money and patronize several places, shopping for the best odds and sign-up offers.

Again, look around and get the best deal. You’re patronizing a service and should get the best experience for you. That includes finding the best online sportsbook for payouts as well.

What Offers Do Sportsbooks Give New Customers?

When sportsbooks launch in states, new customers are often presented with incentives to sign up for and patronize various brands. These involve matches on the amount of money deposited — up to a certain figure — and “free” or “risk-free” bets.

What’s it mean?

  • Deposit match – Here, a sportsbook matches the amount a bettor deposits after sign-up, up to a certain amount and/or percentage.
    The percentage of match varies depending on the sportsbook and the offer up in a given state. Also, the match could be made in cash, or site credit equal to the deposit amount.
  • Free bets – This is where a sportsbook offers a given dollar amount for wagering once a new customer sets up and funds a betting account. They can use it to bet and can profit from it, but not just withdraw and pocket the freebie before making a bet. This often encourages bettors to make a larger wager the first time in hopes of a big return with some house money involved.
  • No-deposit bonus – These are like free bets, but without the initial deposit by the new customers. Here, sportsbooks place a given amount of money automatically in a new customer’s account, and they can bet with it, but not just withdraw it before wagering.
    These amounts are generally not more than $25 or so because the sportsbook is taking the chance the new customer will not return after expending that free money. It’s an expensive way to maybe gain customers for the sportsbook.
  • Risk-free bet – Here, a bettor is usually awarded a refund or some other incentive if they lose their first bet, up to a certain dollar figure. If that first wager, say for $50, doesn’t come in, the sportsbook will give the customer another one of th same value. Obviously, that money is promotional – in the form of site credit or bonus cash – and has to be used to make another bet. You can profit from it, but not pocket it.

Sports Betting Terms for Ohio Bettors

ATS (against the spread): How a team performs in relation to the point spread of the game, rather than if it wins or loses the game. If the Browns lose a game, but by less than the spread, they’re 1-0 ATS.

Chalk: The favorite in a contest. Like the Bengals most Sundays.

Closing line: The last line posted before the game begins.

Consensus pick: The public favorite, determine by aggregating how it was bet by numerous sportsbooks.

Cover: If the Browns win the game by the final margin posted by a sportsbook. If the line was 3 ½, a four-point win is required to cover.

Even money: 50-50 odds. Bets $1, win $1.

Favorite: The expected winner, regardless of spread.

Futures bet: A long-term wager reliant on long-term outcomes of a player or team instead of on a particular game. Imagine a bet made in June on the Buckeyes to win the national championship. These bets can make for nice payouts, but tie up money for months, at times.

Handle: The amount of money wagered on an event.

Hedging: Betting against an original bet, either on a team or a longer-term result. This is generally done to mitigate risk, or loss, from the first bet.

Hook: Half of a point.

In-game wagering: Real-time online or mobile bets that are dependent on outcomes within the game or the final result.

Money line: A straight-up bet that only requires the winner to be correctly picked.

No action: A situation where a betting market is taken down by the sportsbook and bets are refunded.

Over/under: A figure representing the total combined points of both teams. Bettors can ‘take’ the over or under and root for the teams to combine for more or less than the over/under set by the sportsbook.

Parlay: A bet where multiple games and outcomes are combined. Parlays generate much greater odds for the bettor, but require every selection to be correct for a win.

Pick ’em: A game where there is no point spread and each team is a co-favorite.

Point spread (spread): The amount by which the favorite is expected to win, according to the sportsbook. If you see Bengals, -10, they’re favored by 10 points and need to win by 11 to cover.

Proposition (prop) bet: A bet that depends on the outcome of a specific play, generally, within a game and not the outcome of the game overall.

Puckline: In hockey betting, the favorite has a spread of -1.5 and the underdog +1.5.

Push: When the winning team hits the point spread exactly. Spread bets are refunded in this instance.

Runline: In baseball betting, the favorite has a spread of -1.5 and the underdog +1.5.

Straight up: The anticipated winner of a game, per the moneyline.

Underdog: The expected loser of a game, per the moneyline.

Wager: A bet.

How To Read Odds

Odds come in either fraction or ‘American’. They mean the same thing but are just read differently. In the United States, you will generally see odds with a plus or minus symbol in front of them, except in pari-mutuels, which still employ fractional.

The team with negative (-) odds is the favorite. The bigger the number, the bigger the favorite. As for the money, the number indicates how much you need to bet to win $100.

If the Bengals are a -200 favorite, a $200 bet is required to profit $100 from a winning bet.  If you bet $100 at these odds and win, you collect $150, which is your original stake, plus $50.

If the odds have a positive (+) in front, that team is the underdog. The larger the number, the more unlikely the sportsbook and bettors who have wagered so far feel that team is to win.

As for the money, the number behind the plus sign tells you how much you will win for every $100 wagered.

So, if the Browns are a +200 underdog and you bet $100 and they win, you collect $300, which is your original stake plus $200. That’s a pretty good return on investment.

Check out this handy odds calculator for more help.

How Old do You Have To Be To Make a Legal Sports Bet in Ohio?

21, the same age required to visit an Ohio casino.

About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Senior Writer
Brant James is a senior writer who covers the sports betting industry and legislation at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times,, espnW,, and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats. He also once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella has yelled at him numerous times.

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