Ohio Casino Control Commission Announces Plan To Reveal Universal Start Date On June 1

There's still no sports betting launch date in Ohio, but at least there's a date for when the commission intends to announce the launch date.
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Members of the Ohio Casino Control Commission have been hearing from plenty of people wondering when can they expect to be able to place a bet at a legal sportsbook in Ohio.

During the commission’s meeting Wednesday morning in Columbus, Executive Director Matt Schuler addressed speculation about the “Universal Start Date” for sports gaming.

Schuler didn’t provide a date for when the sports betting platforms will be up and operating, but he did spell out that a formal Universal Start Date will be announced at the commission’s next meeting, which will be held virtually on June 1. The Universal Start Date will also be shared with stakeholders and available on the sports gaming listserv and the commission’s website.

In time for NFL or World Series?

Ohio state Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, recently expressed an opinion that he believed sports betting could possibly begin in Ohio as early as late fall, or around the time of the World Series. The commission responded to Antani’s prediction by updating its Sports Gaming FAQs with the following:

Q: Will the Universal Start Date be in time for the kickoff of the NFL season or the MLB World Series?

No. Given the intricacies of the rule making process in Ohio and the number of licenses and investigations that the commission must issue or undertake, the Universal Start Date is likely to be close to, if not exactly on, January 1, 2023.

The law states that sports betting must be launched by Jan. 1, 2023. The commission had previously responded to Antani’s prediction by listing the stages that still need to be completed before any sports wagering can take place.

The commission has also noted that building a sports betting platform is a long process, and Ohio is undertaking the largest gaming expansion in its history and what will be the largest-ever simultaneous launch of sports gaming in the U.S. The plan is to have all online applications, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, and kiosks in restaurants and bars to launch on the same date. The commission anticipates having to review approximately 3,000 applications for sports betting licenses prior to the Universal Start Date.

Sports wagering was legalized in Ohio on Dec. 22 when Gov. Mike DeWine signed HB 29. The commission has remained busy working on the development of the sports betting platform in order to meet the deadlines that were put in place to have the activity up and running by the end of the year.

The commission will begin accepting applications for the first of two groups of sports betting licenses on June 15. The commission most recently offered stakeholders an opportunity to comment on draft applications for sports gaming suppliers and key sports gaming employees. The comment period ended Friday.

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