Ohio has over 11 million residents, making it the 7th-most populous and 10th-most densely populated state in the nation. Its wide range of professional sports teams and collegiate programs make Ohio a top-5 market for legal sports betting.
The road to legal Ohio sports betting was a very long one, filled with metaphorical potholes and other obstacles both major and minor. Then one day in late 2021, December 8 to be exact, the House and Senate both passed H.B. 29. It legalized sports betting in the state.
Governor Mike DeWine signed the bill into law a few days later. Consequently, sports betting became legal in Ohio. The debate and negotiations happened behind closed doors, and we may never know what caused the legislative logjam to break.
Ultimately, that’s in the past now, and legal sports betting is finally coming to Ohio on January 1, 2023.
OH sports betting license types
Passing legislation to legalize sports betting is just the beginning of the actual legalization process. From there, the rulemaking and regulatory actions take over, usually at just above a snail’s pace. Some states, such as Arizona, make it a priority to work quickly to get sportsbooks licensed and up and running.
Other states, like Ohio for example, work more diligently, ensuring that all the details are in place before granting final approval to online and retail sportsbook operators.
Read more details about what will end up in Ohio when sports betting arrives on January 1, 2023. Let’s begin with the types of licenses that are currently up for grabs.
Type A licenses
Up to 25 Type A licenses are authorized. They will be available for the eight professional sports teams in the state; the PGA Tour, which has an event in the state; and NASCAR, which operates in the state. Ohio’s 11 existing casinos also qualify for a Type A license.
Each license will allow the license holder to partner with up to two sportsbooks, operating as their online “skin”. As an example, the Cincinnati Bengals recently became the first professional sports team in the state to apply for a Type A License.
If approved, the license would open up the door for the Bengals to partner with a commercial operator (or two). This will allow the sportsbook(s) to operate online in the state.
Most, if not all, of the state’s 10 qualifying professional sports entities and 11 casinos (4 traditional casinos and 7 racinos) are likely to end up applying for a license and partnering with a major sportsbook operator when it’s all said and done.
Type B licenses
Type B licenses are for retail sportsbooks and up to 40 Type B licenses are authorized. This means that there could be quite a few big retail sportsbooks across the state.
Casinos like Scioto Downs Racino (owned by Ceasars) that want a retail sportsbook and an online sportsbook (ahem, Caesars Sportsbook), will have to apply for both a Type A and Type B license. Still, 40 retail sportsbooks would be more than any other state not named Nevada.
Type C licenses
Type C licenses are where things get interesting. Any retail establishment with a liquor license, which includes thousands of establishments in Ohio, is eligible to apply for a Type C license. This would allow them to install a sports betting kiosk.
The kiosks will be managed by the state lottery and will only have simple bet types. These will be spread, over/under, and moneyline wagers. This could have a potentially huge impact on the popularity of sports betting in the state.
Many people may want to bet on a game. However, they don’t necessarily want to open up and fund an online account in one of the Ohio mobile sportsbooks.
Additional details on Ohio sports betting
- The tax rate is a very competitive 10%. This will benefit bettors and should maximize the tax revenue generated by the betting handle in the state. The lower the tax rate, the more competition, in theory, will come to the state. This will result in better prices for bettors and more fees paid to the state government.
- Esports are authorized, which is worth keeping an eye on. Wagering on esports is becoming a bigger deal as video games continue to grow in popularity. Only a few states offer regulated wagering on esports, which isn’t a wildly popular market now. However, it may become popular in the future.
- VERY importantly, wagering on in-state college teams is allowed. Imagine the outrage if Ohioans couldn’t bet on their beloved Buckeyes. In fact, there are no major restrictions on the types of wagers sportsbooks can offer in the state.
- All the sportsbooks that receive their licenses in time will go live on the same day so as not to favor one over another. This is a common strategy that has been used by New York, Michigan, and Arizona to ensure that sportsbooks can prepare for launch knowing that they will be going live on a certain date.
- All tax revenue generated from sports betting will go to education and youth sports programs in the state. The state is expected to generate $12 million or more in tax revenue each year. This will pay for a lot of laptops and uniforms.
Professional sports team partnerships in Ohio
While the sports betting landscape in Ohio continues to take shape ahead of the January 1, 2023 launch date, partnerships between various sportsbook brands and the state’s professional teams are starting to surface. We’ve got everything covered down below to get you up to speed.
One of two NFL franchises based in Ohio, the Cleveland Browns, announced a sports-betting partnership with Bally Interactive on April 26, 2022.
The long-term agreement is expected to include a Bally Bet-branded lounge at FirstEnergy Stadium along with market access to launch the mobile Bally Bet Sportsbook app as soon as the state goes live on January 1, 2023.
Fresh off a Super Bowl appearance and backed by two of the most exciting young players in the game in Joe Burrow and Ja’marr Chase, there is no question that sportsbook brands are going to line up in droves to partner with the Bengals.
On July 8, 2022, Cincinnati became the first professional sports franchise in Ohio to submit its application for a Type A License. The Bengals will host new sports betting partner Betfred on one of its two available online skins.
The team first announced its partnership with Betfred on July 13, 2022. That made the famed UK bookmaker the official sports betting partner of the franchise.
The Cincinnati Reds have agreed to partnerships with Underdog Sports, BetMGM Sportsbook, and WynnBET (as of August 11th, WynnBET has ceased operations).
The deal with Underdog Sports grants them market access to online sports betting for their DFS platform that has grown rapidly in popularity. This partnership will help bring new types of wagering for users in Ohio.
Additionally, the Reds have partnership with BetMGM Sportsbook, which includes a retail sportsbook at Great American Ballpark. BetMGM Sportsbook has one retail location in an MLB park, Nationals Park. Great American will be MGM’s second location in the MLB.
Another young and exciting franchise on the rise, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be an extremely popular pick for sports betting brands to hitch their wagon to. In fact, the lone Ohio-based NBA franchise already made Caesars Sportsbook its official sports betting partner back on February 24, 2022.
Future plans between Caesars and the Cavaliers include an in-house retail sportsbook on the street level of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. It is expected to open in 2023.
The Cavaliers also announced a multi-year partnership with Betway back in March 2021. The deal was largely based around marketing the brand through signs and commercials featured during the Cavaliers’ broadcasts. It did not include market access of any kind. The partnership also introduced a free-to-play game called “Betway Big Pick” which allows fans to compete for real cash prizes.
In addition, the Cavs have agreed to a partnership with FanDuel that is similar in structure to the one they have in place with Betway.
The Guardians have multiple agreements in place.
First, the Guardians agreed to a partnership with Fanatics Sportsbook to open a retail sports betting location in Progressive One Field starting in the 2023 MLB season.
Fanatics is one of the largest names in the sports merchandising industry and is trying to make an aggressive expansion into the sports betting realm. In addition, the Guardians have struck an agreement with bet365 Sportsbook.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Ohio’s professional hockey team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, agreed to a partnership with Fanatics Sportsbook. The deal grants Fanatics market access for both retail and online sports betting in the Buckeye State.
Furthermore, the Blue Jackets agreed to a partnership with Prophet Exchange, an unconventional sportsbook, where users can bet against one another in hopes of avoiding added vig prices at bigger branded sportsbooks. The deal granted Prophet Exchange market access for Ohio, where it will serve as one of the Blue Jackets’ two online skins along with Fanatics.
One of ten original Major League Soccer teams, the Columbus Crew announced a sports betting partnership of its own on January 13, 2022.
Columbus locked up a long-term arrangement with sportsbook operator Tipico. That made the brand the official and exclusive sports betting partner of the club for the foreseeable future.
The deal includes entitlement rights to various assets throughout the team’s home stadium, Lower.com Field. Some of them are the newly renamed Tipico Beer Garden and Tipico Club.
Tipico Sportsbook also acquired market access in Ohio through the deal. It is expected to launch in the state once its iGaming market goes live.
Included among Ohio’s professional sports teams up for licensing is none other than the PGA Tour, thanks to its Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, which takes place at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio every spring.
On March 16, 2022, the PGA Tour formally announced its partnership with betPARX. It’s the mobile sports betting and casino arm of Parx Casino. The deal grants betPARX market access in the state of Ohio. It’s also making the brand an Official Betting Operator of the PGA Tour.
Both the Memorial Tournament and betPARX were conditionally approved for a Type A license in Ohio, however betPARX has yet to announce any plans for launch or a timeline of any kind.
Hall of Fame Village
Hall of Fame Village, the area surrounding the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, is also getting in on the state’s legal sports betting game.
Hall of Fame Village linked up with YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul’s brand new Betr Sportsbook app, which is dubbed the world’s first micro-betting platform. The two sides were conditionally approved for a Type A license in Ohio and Betr is now expected to launch on January 1, 2023.
Back in December 2021, the Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company announced a 10-year partnership with Rush Street Interactive, the parent company behind mobile operators BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse. The deal allows Rush Street to operate a premier sports-betting location at the Hall of Fame Village now that both entities are licensed and properly approved.
Interestingly enough, Rush Street Interactive announced in February 2022 that it had landed market access in Ohio for up to 20 years after reaching an agreement with Penn National Gaming, which owns various Hollywood Casino & Gaming properties throughout the state. It appears as though Rush Street will handle any retail operations at Hall of Fame Village while launching its online subsidiaries through PNG.
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