Buckeye Bettors Waiting for Ohio Sports Betting Launch

A general view of FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Nic Antaya/Getty Images/AFP

It’s not a question of if, but when, sports betting will launch in Ohio but the waiting is the hardest part and there are still challenges to overcome, much to the chagrin of those waiting to make a legal wager in the Buckeye State.

New Year’s Deadline for Sports Betting

The Ohio Casino Control Commission has stated that on June 1st there will be a decision regarding a start date for sports betting and that “stakeholders should anticipate the Universal Start Date will be close to January 1, 2023.”

“Ohio is undertaking the largest gaming expansion in its history and the largest-ever simultaneous launch of sports gaming in the United States,” the OCCC said via an email.

“This will necessitate the Commission to undertake due diligence investigations and ensure compliance requirements for approximately 3,000 applications in time for the Universal Start Date.”

Who Is It Addressed To?

The New Year’s Day deadline is for retail sportsbooks, sports betting kiosks, and of course, the most popular method of betting a bunch when you’ve got a hunch – mobile sports betting apps. It will be a universal start date for all forms of sportsbooks and their operators.

Daniel Wallach, founder of the sports betting-focused law firm, Wallach Legal, LLC stated, “I think they are looking pretty good for near the beginning of the NFL regular season.”

Wallach further elaborated, “It becomes an issue not of if, but a question of when in the September through year-end time frame when it actually goes live.

And given the importance of college football, the NFL regular season, and then the World Series, along with the beginning of NBA and NHL games, it provides a robust period for sports wagering and I think states would be wise to target that activity.”

But some, like Casino Control Commission spokeswoman Jessica Franks, stated, “For everyone interested, they really should expect it to be very close to – if not on – January 1st.

Expectations After January 1

We anticipate roughly 3,000 (license applications) might come in. We’re going to need to do all of those investigations to issue those licenses and then make sure they’re in compliance with all of the rules and regulations.

We’re going to need all of that time right up until January.”

And that was a sobering dose of reality for all who believed Ohio sports betting would be up and running for the start of the football season.

Bally’s Teams with Browns

Although the sports betting launch has been repeatedly stalled in Ohio, that didn’t preclude Bally’s Interactive, a division of Bally’s Corporation, from partnering with the Cleveland Browns.

Those who visit First Energy Stadium will be greeted by Bally’s signage as well as a VIP sports betting lounge where fans can dine and drink while watching sports on big screens all in the lap of luxury.

Once sports betting launches, customers can make a bet through the Bally’s app or at one of their sports betting kiosks.

Bally’s Fan-first Mindset

Haslam Sports Group EVP and COO, Dave Jenkins, commented: “In addition to their incredible resources and expertise, Bally’s Interactive has the fan-first mindset that is consistent with our focus and pivotal to creating successful, fully-integrated sports betting experiences, and we look forward to supporting Bally’s efforts to provide these innovative opportunities to Browns fans and all sports fans in Ohio in the near future.

“As we continue to work closely with sports betting regulators in our state to ensure a responsible and timely launch, we are excited and confident that our partnership with Bally’s will ultimately offer industry-leading benefits to fans throughout Cleveland and Ohio.”

TheRX will continue to monitor this story and update our readers as events unfold.