Ohio Governor Approves Legal Sports Betting


Ohio Governor Mike DeWine enacted sports betting on Wednesday afternoon, two weeks after a bill was passed by the state legislature in just hours. Ohio is the seventh U.S. jurisdiction to legalize in 2021, although the first bets are unlikely to take place until next fall.

After years of rambling discussions about the legalization of sports betting, lawmakers on December 8 introduced a bill to the conference committee, the Senate and the House with little resistance and with remarkable speed. The bill, which will allow mobile and retail betting statewide with a “preference” for existing casinos and professional sports teams, comes with a 10% tax on gross gaming revenue and entrusts supervision to the Casino Control Commission.

The law allows many betting opportunities in Ohio, from Jacobs Field in Cleveland to local bowling alleys. The lottery, which will play a small role in regulating betting, will oversee betting at lottery vendors, including convenience stores, bars and restaurants statewide.

Ohio is the seventh largest US state in terms of population, and it’s the fourth largest to legalize behind New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. The country’s three largest states, California, Texas, and Florida, currently do not have legal sports betting. Florida did so temporarily, but the legality of a tribal state pact allowing the Seminoles to offer it is blocked in court.

The exact timing of sports betting in Ohio is unclear. Under the new law, the Casinos Control Commission can start accepting “gambling owner” applications on January 1 and can issue licenses from April 1. But the law also provides for a supervisory committee that will be partly responsible for cleaning. no problem with the new law, and this group is unlikely to be formed by the start of the new year.

It is likely that the first bets will not be placed until the second half of 2022, and stakeholders are hoping for a start to the football season.

Stakeholders are already talking about what’s called a “trailer bill” to clean up the specifics of the law, such as the timing of tax payments, among others.

Expect all the grown ups to be in Ohio

It’s reasonable to expect that every major operator – from Barstool and BetRivers to FanDuel and FOX Bet – will try to get in on the action in Ohio, where a total of over 50 digital skins or platforms will be. available. Barstool Sportsbook, Bet365, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, FOX Bet, theScore and Unibet already have market access through casino partners.

Prior to this month, Ohio lawmakers had considered legal bets for three sessions dating back to 2018, but were unable to reach a consensus. One of the biggest sticking points in recent months has been the appointment of the regulator, with the House pushing for the Ohio Lottery and the Senate wanting the Casinos Control Commission. It’s unclear how the Senate got the House moving, but overall operators are more comfortable with a regulator who knows the games rather than the lotteries.

Since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, more than 30 U.S. jurisdictions have legalized or initiated sports betting. Ohio initially appeared to be in the first wave, but was preceded by four of its five border states.

Pennsylvania was legalized in 2017 before the PASPA was canceled, while West Virginia was legalized and launched in 2018. Indiana legalized both in 2019, and Michigan legalized in late 2019 and allowed to take the first bets in March 2020. Kentucky is the only one in Ohio. cross-border workers without legal bets, and legalization there does not seem imminent despite the efforts of some lawmakers.