Is Sports Betting Legal in Ohio? Launch Timeline

By Martin Green
 |  5 mins
8E3DFB6F-93D4-478C-99D9-112C2BB6C04E  Fact Checked by Mark Fordham
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Is Sports Betting Legal in Ohio? Launch Timeline

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine officially legalized sports betting when he signed a bill named HB 29 into law back in December 2021.

Legal sports betting in Ohio will get underway on January 1, 2023. The Ohio Casino Control Commission has described it as the largest simultaneous launch of legal sports wagering in US history.

Online sports betting sites, betting apps, large retail sports betting lounges and kiosks at grocery stores, bars and taverns will all go live on the same day. This is an exciting prospect for sports fans in the Buckeye State, so keep reading to learn more about Ohio legal sports betting.

When will Sports Betting be Legal in Ohio?

Ever since Gov. DeWine signed HB 29 into law, we have regularly been asked: is sports betting legal in Ohio? Is online sports betting legal in Ohio?

The answer is yes, sports wagering is legal in the state. However, operators have been awaiting the green light to launch from the Ohio Casino Control Commission. It has now finalized the regulatory framework and issued online and retail sports betting licenses to a wide range of operators.

It means that legal sports betting in Ohio can officially get underway on New Year’s Day, which is just in time for the Week 17 NFL game between the Cleveland Browns and the Washington Commanders and the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Buffalo Bills.

What is the Ohio Sports Betting Bill?

The Ohio sports betting bill legalized online and retail sportsbooks. It created three types of license:

  • Type A | There are 25 Type A master licenses for online sports betting. They have been issued to professional sports teams, land-based casinos and racinos in the state. Twenty-one of these Type A licensees can host two online sportsbooks, while the remaining four can only host a single online skin. That means there could eventually be 46 online sportsbooks in Ohio.
  • Type B | These licenses are awarded to operators that want to build large retail sports betting lounges. There can ultimately be a maximum of 40 retail sportsbooks in the Buckeye State. If a county has a population of between 100,000 and 399,999, it can have one retail sportsbook. Counties with 400,000 to 799,999 residents can have up to three brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, while counties with at least 800,000 people can host up to five retail sportsbooks.
  • Type C | There are hundreds of Type C licenses available. They allow recipients to launch two sports betting kiosks on their premises. These licenses have been issued to bars, taverns and grocery stores.

The bill imposes a 10% revenue tax on sportsbooks. They are permitted to deduct promotional spend from their revenue before paying that 10% tax on the remainder. It is one of the country’s lowest tax rates, so it should lead to a very competitive industry featuring lots of operators.

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Ohio Sports Betting History

This timeline highlights the key dates that led to Ohio rolling out a legal sports betting industry:

  • June 16, 2021: State senators passed SB 176 on a 30-2 vote, giving their stamp of approval for legal sports wagering. Ohio sports teams had backed the bid.
  • June 17, 2021: SB 176 went to the House, but it could not drum up enough support. Sen. Kirk Schuring transferred its main points of SB 176 onto a pre-existing bill, HB 29, which reinvigorated the process that eventually saw Ohio legalize sports betting.
  • December 8, 2021: The House and the Senate agreed on a compromise bill to legalize sports wagering after resolving their differences on how the industry should be run.
  • December 22, 2021: Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 29.
  • January 31, 2022: The first draft rules for the sports betting industry were revealed, initiating a public consultation period.
  • March 14, 2022: The Ohio Casino Control Commission published a fourth set of regulations to govern legal sports betting.
  • April 18, 2022: Ohio State University wrote to the Ohio Casino Control Commission asking it to prevent sportsbooks from taking prop bets on college games. However, the commission has not acknowledged this request in public.
  • June 1, 2022: The Ohio Casino Control Commission revealed that legal sports betting would start on New Year’s Day, ending hopes of an early launch.
  • June 15, 2022: The Ohio application process for sports betting licenses opened.
  • July 15, 2022: The application process closed.
  • September 8, 2022: The first eight proprietor licenses were approved, with the Cleveland Browns, Columbus Crew and Cincinnati Reds among the successful applicants.
  • September 16, 2022: An Emerson College study suggested that 15% of adults in the state plan to bet on sports – 20% of men and 12% of women.
  • September 21, 2022: The Ohio Casino Control Commission announced that 10 applicants had been awarded Type A sports betting master licenses.
  • October 5, 2022: Various online sportsbooks received the green light to launch in the Buckeye State on New Year’s Day.

Which Sportsbooks Will be Available at Launch

The country’s four largest sportsbooks are expected to go live on Day 1. FanDuel has a market access deal with Belterra Park. DraftKings is launching on the master license of Hollywood Casino in Toledo. BetMGM will operate on the Type A license of MGM Northfield Park, and Caesars gained market access via its ownership of Scioto Downs.

Major European sportsbooks have also teamed up with pro sports teams in Ohio. Bet365, the world’s most popular online gambling brand, partnered with the Cleveland Guardians, while Betfred is launching in partnership with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Cleveland Browns will host Bally Bet. Additional sportsbooks expected to be available at launch include Hard Rock, Barstool and Tipico. If you are wondering, “when will sports betting be legal in Ohio?”, it all kicks off on January 1, 2023.

Why has Ohio Legalized Online Sports Betting?

Many Ohio residents are already betting on sports, but the state does not receive any tax revenue from this activity. Bettors in the Buckeye State can drive over the border into Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana or Michigan to use legal, regulated online sportsbooks. Some bettors also use unregulated, offshore betting sites or neighborhood bookies, but we would never recommend that at Bookmakers. There is no guarantee that you will get paid out if you use these unlicensed betting sites and bookies. 

In one fell swoop, the state will protect consumers and generate a great deal of tax revenue by rolling out legal online sports betting in Ohio. The Buckeye State is expected to earn around $50 million per year by taxing the industry, and 98% of that revenue will be spent on K-12 education, interscholastic sports and extra-curricular activities for children.

Why You Should Only Use a Legal Regulated Sportsbook.

You will not be covered by local consumer protection regulations if you use an offshore, unlicensed betting site. As such, there are no guarantees that your bets will be graded fairly, and you may not get your money back if you win. You will also never receive the same betting welcome offers or free bet offers that you would from a licensed operator.

It is much safer to use a legal, regulated online sportsbook. They are also significantly better than their offshore rivals, with vastly superior software, advanced features and more markets to bet on. Offshore sportsbooks often charge you for deposits and withdrawals, impose unrealistic rollover requirements on their bonuses and offer clunky interfaces, while they cannot provide native mobile apps, so you will enjoy a better service with Ohio legal sports betting operators.

What Age Will You Need to be to Legally Bet in Ohio?

Players wondering whether sports betting is legal in Ohio are also keen to know what the minimum age is for sports betting in the state. Anyone in Ohio must be 21 or older to place online or in-person sports bets.

Which Sports Will You be Able to Bet on in Ohio?

You will be able to bet on professional and college sports in Ohio. That will allow you to wager on popular teams such as the Buckeyes, the Cleveland Browns, the Cincinnati Bengals and the various NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS teams in the state. These are the main sports you can bet on:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Hockey
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • UFC/MMA
  • Boxing
  • Motorsports

Additional sports will include athletics, Aussie Rules, badminton, cricket, cycling, darts, floorball, handball, lacrosse, pool, snooker, surfing, table tennis, volleyball, water polo and winter sports. You will need a separate app to bet on horse races.

Will Daily Fantasy Sports be Legal?

Daily Fantasy Sports contests are already legal in Ohio. You can continue using DraftKings and FanDuel for DFS contests, while they will offer traditional sports betting too. 

Will Online Casino Games be Legal?

No, Ohio has not legalized online casino games. That would require a separate legislative effort. We will update readers if online casino games are legalized in the future. In the meantime, you will need to visit land-based casinos and racinos.

With years of experience under his belt, Martin Green is a well-respected figure in the gambling and sports journalism community. A keen sports writer and professional tipster, Martin also spent five years working with William Hill during his career. A regular writer for bookmakers.co.uk, his work has also been displayed across multiple leading publications across the web.

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