Ohio’s Simultaneous Launch Delays Online Gambling Date

Cleveland Browns NFL football fan
A Cleveland Browns fan reacts during an official review in a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jason Miller/Getty Images/AFP

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine inked his name on the sports betting bill shortly after it arrived on his desk. But that was back in December of last year and reports are that Ohio won’t launch online gambling until New Year’s Day of 2023.

Patience is a Virtue

It is ironic that what often matters to politicians makes no sense to their constituents who put them in office. We have a case in point in Ohio where legislation has already been adopted to allow online and retail sports betting but the actual launch is moving at a glacial pace.

Most states kick it into high gear once the bill is signed and immediately check out the blueprints from the 30-plus other states that have already launched sports betting and use that to license its operators and turn the spigot on to a brand-new revenue stream.

However, Ohio intends to do things differently even if it costs them most of the biggest betting season of the year. Instead of putting the pedal to the metal and rolling out a launch to capture all of the NFL and college football games beginning in September, the august bodies of the bicameral state legislature have decided that retail and online betting should be rolled out at the same time.

Happy New Year

The logistics of doing so have caused the delay but that doesn’t seem to bother any of the pols in Ohio. The Ohio Casino Control has confirmed that the online and retail sports betting launch will occur on January 1st, 2023, the latest possible date for it to do so.

Simultaneously launching retail and online betting platforms has yet to be done in a state the size of Ohio but giving the retail shops a green light to open for business back in January would have seen the online platforms launch well in time for the football season.

Jessica Franks, Ohio Casino Control Commission communications director, said, “We’re regulating an entirely new industry here for the state of Ohio, so that necessitates a great deal of work. But we have a great staff at the commission and we’re really proud of all the work that they’ve been doing up through this process.”

Which Type Are You?

There are expected to be 25 Type A master licenses awarded to professional sports teams, casinos, and racinos. Each master license can align with one skin, aka an online betting operator, and can then reapply for one more. Of the 25 original master licenses, 21 will be able to get another skin as long as they can demonstrate it will be an economic asset for the state. Thus, there could be as many as 46 online operators in the Buckeye State if this all comes to fruition.

In addition to the Type A licenses, there will also be 40 Type B retail sports betting licenses with preference given to the pro sports teams and then any establishment with a liquor license could apply for a Type B license which allows for betting kiosks.

It’s a lot to process but Ohio would have been better off getting the retail operations launched so that the online platforms would be ready to roll when the NFL came around. But it’s never easy when the government gets involved. Yet, suffice it to say, Ohio will have sports betting in the New Year and that’s what truly counts.