Anyone who bet that Ohio would legalize in-person and online sports betting in 2021 has much to celebrate now that a sportsbook bill has passed the Ohio Legislature. State lawmakers approved the legislation on Dec. 8, 2021 after reaching a tentative agreement on the bill two days earlier.
Gov. Mike DeWine reiterated to the press during a stop in Massillon, Ohio on Dec. 8 that he will sign the bill, telling reporters, “It’s time to do it.”
Ohio sports bettors can expect to be able to bet legally by Jan. 2023 once the bill becomes law. The legislation (House Bill 29) requires a universal start date no later than Jan. 1, 2023, with firm regulatory deadlines to keep delays few and far between.
The launch could be a boon for the Buckeye State. With at least seven professional sports leagues and top college teams in the Big 10 and beyond, sports bettors waiting for legal betting options will have plenty to choose in Ohio.
Best of all, Ohio sports bettors will be able to wager legally in their home state – an improvement from having to get in a car and drive across the border to visit a casino or use an app in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, or West Virginia.
How Would Ohio Sportsbooks Be Licensed Under HB 29?
Ohio would launch both retail and mobile sports betting under the law, with 25 retail licenses available for professional teams, leagues, casinos, and racinos. Each licensee would be eligible for one mobile skin, with a second skin possible pending state approval.
Sports betting licenses would be available to additional retailers based on local population, with a separate license available for sports betting kiosks at lottery retailers, including certain bars and restaurants. An unlimited number of the kiosks are possible pending approval of the Ohio Lottery Commission.
Just how quickly Ohio sports betting would be up and running under HB 29 depends on deadlines set by the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) – the state regulatory agency that would be responsible for issuing sports betting licenses in Ohio.
What Sports Betting Apps Might Come To Ohio?
Ohio online sports betting could offer bettors up to 40 mobile apps once online and mobile launch in the Buckeye State.
The majority of these apps are likely to be partners of professional sports teams, casinos, and racetracks in the state. With a limited number of sportsbooks on the market, Ohioans can expect some familiar brands once legal sports betting launches in their state.
Caesars Sportsbook is owned by Caesars Entertainment, which owns and operates Eldorado Gaming at Scioto Downs in Columbus. It makes sense that Caesars would use its presence in the state to continue to build its sportsbook market in the midwest.
BetMGM is owned by MGM Resorts, which owns both Belterra Park in Cincinnati and MGM Northfield racino outside of Akron. MGM Resorts could pursue Ohio sports betting licensing through either or both or those properties, if and when the bill becomes law.
The Wynn Interactive sportsbook announced in Jan. 2021 that it had penned a deal giving it market access in Ohio. As of now, however, details about that deal are still unknown.
Barstool Sportsbook. Barstool Sports is owned by Penn National, which owns four out of 11 total casinos and racinos in Ohio. That could position Barstool as a top sportsbook in the state at the retail level, and beyond.
Hard Rock Sportsbook. Hard Rock Sportsbook is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which also owns Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati. It’s possible that Ohio could be the newest market for the sportsbook, now live in Iowa and New Jersey.
TwinSpires. TwinSpires has expanded its horse racing betting features into a casino and sportsbook app that is now live in several states. With half of Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon, Ohio owned by its parent company Churchill Downs, TwinSpires seems well-positioned for a spot in Ohio’s up-and-coming market.
FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, and BetRivers all have considerable US market share, which also makes them likely competitors for sports betting licensing in Ohio before Jan. 2023 arrives.