The Wait For Ohio Sports Betting’s Start Date Is Costing State Millions

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Fubo has signed on as as a marketing partner of the Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

It is June 13, nearly six months after a sports betting bill was signed into law in Ohio, yet there are no mobile apps, no betting lines, and no wagers taking place. 

This is not expected to change until Jan. 1, 2023

Many sports fans are asking why?

Ohio Casino Control Commission Sets Launch Date 

Gov. Mike DeWine signed sports betting into law on Dec. 22, 2021, more than 170 days ago. 

But the Ohio Casino Control Commission announced earlier this month a universal start date of Jan. 1, 2023. 

This is to ensure that all companies licensed to participate in sports betting — including at both online and retail — are able to open for business at the same time, so no operator gets a head start on another.

“There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen on this one,” Andy Herf, who worked as a lobbyist for bar owners last year while the bill was being crafted, told Cleveland.com.

Another hurdle was the Ohio constitution, which stipulates that any law signed doesn’t take effect until 90 days afterward. This is to give opponents an opportunity, should they wish to seek it, to bring about a challenge to the law. 

When all is said and done, Ohio will be 375 days from the governor’s signature to the first legal sports bet. This is on the long-end of the thus far more than 30 states that have approved sports betting, but not the longest. Michigan holds that title with 399 days.

Casino Commission Takes Charge

As outlined in House Bill 29, the Ohio Casino Control Commission was tasked with setting up the framework for sports betting in the Buckeye State. 

Since DeWine signed the bill, the OCCC has been working to make sure everything is good to go when the time comes. 

“We’re regulating an entirely new industry here for the state of Ohio, so that necessitates a great deal of work. But we have a great staff at the commission and we’re really proud of all the work that they’ve been doing up through this process,” Jessica Franks, communications director for the OCCC, told Ohio Public Radio.

On Wednesday, June 15, those applying for licenses under Ohio’s rubric for the rights to offer sports betting can begin submitting to the OCCC.  There are three types of licenses. 

  • Type A: Mobile and online sports betting apps, such as DraftKings and FanDuel. Bally Bet and Fubo have already announced deals with the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively;
  • Type B: Retail sports betting establishments such as casinos;
  • Type C: Sports betting kiosks available to select bars and restaurants.

Delay Is An Opportunity To Educate

To get ready for legal sports betting, JACK Entertainment, which runs the JACK Casino in Cleveland, is offering sports fans the chance to practice bet on their mobile devices before the state’s launch date. 

“We recently launched a betJack training Camp mobile application that allows folks to practice sports betting between now and the time that we go live for real money,” Adam Suliman, vice president of sports and digital gaming at JACK, told WKYC.com.

He added he isn’t bothered by the waiting period because it “allows the industry to get off on the right foot.” 

But the delay is costing the states millions of dollars in revenue. Once sports betting is up and running, the tax rate will be 10%.

Before this happens though, there is the start of the NFL season, the World Series, and the FIFA World Cup, not to mention countless college football games and other events. 

Sports betting is expected to bring in $7 million during its first six months of operation and more than $20 million annually as it gets its feet off the ground.  Once fully operational it could bring in more than $3 billion, according to WHIO-TV

About the Author

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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