Ohio Considers Changing Rules for Unused Sports Betting Licenses

The Ohio Casino Control Commission is reassessing how it handles online and retail sports betting licenses for operators who have not yet put them to use.

A deadline arrives on May 7.

The proposed amendment to state gambling regulations would cover licensees that have either not offered bets for more than a year or never launched. As of now, most of the fallow licenses are associated with professional sports properties.

Legal Ohio sports betting launched on Jan. 1, 2023.

While the proposal would seemingly be aimed at winnowing stagnant licenses, Cleveland.com suggested that the move could make punitive action “much softer” and grant leeway to pro sports properties that have yet to exploit legal sports betting.

The OCCC informed stakeholders in Ohio that they have until Tuesday to comment on the proposed “use-it-or-lose-it” amendment, which has been of knowledge to them for more than a year.

What Changes Would Amendment Bring?

From the proposal:

“If the executive director determines at any time that a type A sports gaming proprietor licensee has not actively offered sports gaming to patrons under the license for a continued period of one year or more or that the proprietor was issued a license because of a preference described in division (A) of section 3775.041 of the Revised Code and no longer qualifies for that preference, administrative action to revoke the applicable license will may be taken against the licensee. Notice of the proposed action and an opportunity for hearing will be provided in the manner prescribed under Chapter 119. of the Revised Code and Chapter 3772-21 of the Administrative Code. In so doing, the executive director may issue an emergency order in the manner prescribed by division (G) of section 3772.04 of the Revised Code. Such administrative action will not affect any other sports gaming proprietor licenses that are held by the licensee.

“A type A sports gaming proprietor may not apply to renew its license if it did not actively offer sports gaming to the economic benefit of the state under the license during the preceding license term and must wait a minimum of one year from the expiration of the license before seeking another license.”

Three of 22 sportsbooks licensed to operate Type-A (online) sportsbooks in Ohio have not done so:

  • Underdog Sports (partnering with the Cincinnati Reds), a fantasy platform provider that launched its sportsbook recently in North Carolina.
  • WynnBet (JACK Thistledown Racino), which began shutting down its limited operation in the United States in 2023 and never launched in Ohio.
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers, whose sports betting partner, Fubo Sportsbook, ceased operations in 2022.

Seven of 22 Type-Bs have not opened retail sportsbooks:

  • Cleveland Browns (Bally’s)
  • Crew SC Stadium Company (Tipico)
  • Lori’s Roadhouse
  • Muirfield Village Golf Club
  • Phantom Fireworks
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame Village, which originally had a deal with BetRivers
  • SPIRE Instaiture (Out the Gate)

All Type-C operators are live with kiosks.

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, ESPN.com, espnW, SI.com, 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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