Ohio Inching Towards Sports Betting

Ohio State Buckeyes mascot Brutus Buckeye. Jamie Sabau/Getty Images/AFP

The sports betting bill in Ohio has been signed but the rollout has yet to happen. However, the long wait could be coming to an end for Ohio bettors who are pining for their shot at striking it rich and busting the books. 

See You in September? 

Governor Mike DeWine signed the bill in December of 2021 that will pave the way for online sports betting in Ohio but there are hurdles to be overcome until the platforms get licensed. And while the books are set to go live in January of 2023, there are many who believe online sports betting will be up and running in Ohio just in time for the NFL.  

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 added, “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.” 

There is a pesky little contingent in the bill that states all sports betting operators must commence operation at the same time which could cause a bit of a delay but meanwhile, Ohio is losing tax dollars to its neighbors that have already launched online betting

“Ohio is competing with (other states) for tax dollars and to keep in-state customers away from out-of-state sportsbooks,” Wallach said. “And one way to accomplish that is to make as one of the objectives to launch by the beginning of the NFL season because September is going to be the busiest month in the season for sports wagering and I think Ohio will want to capture that.” 

The Usual Suspects 

Ohio will be fertile soil for the online operators and we can see another fierce battle for early adopters. This will include the obligatory eye-popping signup bonuses and a marketing blitz that will reach everyone in the Buckeye State. The relentless advertising campaigns will make this vast audience acutely aware that there are plenty of online sportsbooks eager to welcome them into the fold. 

We can be quite certain that the four gaming entities currently associated with retail books in Ohio will be at the forefront of the digital realm when given the green light. The MGM Northfield Park casino gives the BetMGM app a natural entrée into the fray as does Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs in Columbus which is owned by Caesars Entertainment. Penn Gaming’s Hard Rock Casino in Cincinnati and their Barstool brand located throughout Ohio will also give those online apps an immediate advantage.  

And of course, FanDuel and DraftKings are ubiquitous in virtually all of the U.S. markets that have legalized online gaming which makes their appearance in Ohio all but a guarantee.  

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